"Wisdom has built her House, she has hewn out her Seven Pillars" Proverbs 9:1
I look forward to having you come join me as we work to turn our houses into homes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What do you think of...................

Aprons!!    I have to say that I never, ever used to think very much of them.......... and then one day that all changed - years later I still love them to bits!!  I now make my own,  (Voila - the 4 there sitting on my clothes line) ,since it's difficult to find the kind I like - all cotton, large pocket in the front, comfy around the neck..... and not having a way too big price tag attached!!  I have quite a large stash of materials and I tend to use those to make up my aprons (hence sometimes the length may vary a little, as you can see in the photo LOL).  I've made quite a number of them over the past couple of years............... and yet here I find I only have 4 here for my own use!!!  As you can see........ all out on the line!  Not a spare one in the kitchen drawer.    Looks like I may have to do something about that!   I find them great to give as gifts.......... a bit like making pot mits and crocheted dishcloths............... I need to remember to ensure I get my own stash together LOL  However, right now, I'm busy working on items for Christmas giving..... since Christmas is but 39 days away!!

I find they really do save my clothes, especially when I just return home from work and have to start on making the dinner........ no splashes staining my clothes.

My aprons have been used for all sorts of things, because I wear them on home days when I'm busy cleaning or doing lots of household things.............. the pockets are great for holding eggs collected from the hen house - and yes, back when I had hens rearing young chicks, it was not unusual to find a baby chick or 2 in my apron  pocket whilst I fixed up the mother hen, or picked up straggling chicks to return to the mum!

What do you think of aprons?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Hard Stuff.........

"She is loud and rebellious (wayward),  Her feet do not stay at home; Now in the street, now in the market, and lurking at every corner"   Prov 7:11-12    It's easy to skip over these couple of verses when reading the whole chapter.......... and no doubt thinking "that doesn't apply to me"......... yet when we pull out these 2 verses it shows a whole different picture!  This girl, woman - she likes to be the centre of attention (she is loud).......... in other words,  This woman is rebellious, wayward, always considers herself to be right - she does not want to be told anything, or listen to anyone else - and if she is in a marriage it's likely she wants (or is) trying to play the lead role!  If she's still at home - then I'm sure others in the family will recognise the rebellious behaviour (she rarely agrees on anything unless it is what she wants!).
from clipart
"Her feet do not stay at home"......... This refers to a woman who is not tending to the needs of her home, her family, her household. She is so "busy" being out and about she doesn't have time to achieve anything much at home!   How can you possibly be taking care of things at home if you are never there!!  Now before I hear the cries of the working woman, let me remind you that I work outside the home in a part time capacity.  My husband is not a christian and so his beliefs are a "little different" to mine.  He feels it is part of my responsability to bring money into the household.  I struggled with this to no end  early on, however God reminded me that regardless of where my husband is in his spiritual journey, I need to remember where I am in mine!  In my journey with God, I know that I need to follow God and He tells me to follow my husband. He also has given me prayer and wisdom to use as tools to work out problems.......... Hence I have what works for us at this point in time - My husband wants me to bring in money, He is also extremely happy when I have the home in order........... thus part time outside employment is a great compromise for our particular situation (provided I remember the reasons I'm doing it). I would be overjoyed to be able to be a "stay at home" wife and mother, but if I carry on about wanting my own way on this, then I ere on the "She is loud and rebellious".
So regardless of your "work" situation - we are really discussing tending to the needs of your home, family and household. "Now in the steet, now in the market (shops), now lurking at every corner".   Are you guilty of always being elsewhere - out shopping for the sake of shopping (we are not talking about the purchase of neccesary household items here), wandering the streets looking for "good bargains", or for filling in time, endless lunch and coffee dates with the girls, always on the phone chatting (or the computer)............. And then saying aloud those words we so often here "I don't have  enough time".    
If you use the time you have effectively, then you will be able to do these things, and probably more than you ever thought possible!  
I am definately no superwoman!  I definately do not strive to be one!  What I do strive to do, is to take care of my family's needs, to tend to my home and to the household tasks that are required in order to achieve much of this.
How you feel about this subject is central to what you will achieve.  It's one of our  pillars............ Any guesses which one.......

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Changing Diets

After having to have my health reviewed due to some long term stress, eating as I shouldn't have been and having my back have a little attack............ well, it was time to review just what I've been doing to my body (and no doubt my family's bodies) over the past 12 months.  It hasn't come about "suddenly" - it's been a slip here and a convenience there -  you know how it goes!  (And I wonder why I've put on weight that's hard to get rid of and feel so run down!)

So I'm currently doing an about face with our diets.  It's a matter of taking on board one of the Pillars that God gave me for creating and maintaining a home.......... Pillar 4 - "Good Health"!
It's back to cutting out as much of the processed, chemically based foods out of our diet as possible and replacing them with whold foods!  

Cooking from scratch is something I usually embrace, so I'm back to looking at just what I'm including in our diet, looking at baking that incorporates better food choices rather than just flour and sugar.  I've also been cutting out grains some days of the week after morning tea time.
Chocolate Mud Cake made with Pumpkin Meal

I've just tried a new receipe - Chocolate Mud Cake - no flour, instead it uses pumpkin meal!  I've also got a banana bread almost ready to come out of the oven made with Almond Meal instead of flour! 

Of course, having your own backyard hens comes in very helpful when you are using a few eggs - and I know what they are fed, and when the eggs are collected!!!   With the shift back to whole foods, the Fruit Trees, vines, and vegetable gardens will be playing a very major role (as it should be).  And since I'm also adding seeds to our diet............. it seems I'm going to have to make room for a number of sunflowers and extra pumkins LOL

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reduce your Cash outflow

I think most of us are trying to reduce the amount of cash we outlay these days, and dare I even mention the word credit card!   Another reason for upskilling your homemaking is so you can use those skills in more than one way! 

Last Friday I had to make a trip into town to have treatment on my back again.  I'd already been on the Tuesday, but since I'd done so much damage, it really did need another treatment!  At just over $60 per treatment I decided to I would try somthing out............ after all, nothing ventured is nothing gained :)  So I headed off to town with a dozen of my eggs, a number of soaps, lip balms, candle melts and one of my jars of furniture conditioner (all made here at home by me, with the exception of the eggs............ although hubbie tends to think I sometimes mimick the chooks!!)
I'm pleased to say that the Osteo was happy to accept a couple of various products which made up to just over half the amount of the cost of the appointment, so my "cash" outlay was just $28.  Then I had to head to the health food outlet to purchase a kilo of almond meal - which was exchanged for some soaps and candle melts........... no cash outlay

After a few quick errands, I felt it was time to grab a coffee to have on my 45 min drive home...... barter of 1 dozen eggs for 1 large latte!      I have to tell you, I do so love the barter system!  

Just a hint...... use the smaller stores where you can get to know the shop owners - they have needs (and wants), like all of us and are often very happy to have home grown or home made products - ask them, after all the worst they can do is say no!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Over the Kitchen Counter

Grab yourself a hot cuppa and come sit at the kitchen bench with me............ Since we're in the Kitchen, let's talk kitchen today.
So much time in a womans life seems to be spent in this little area of the home...... cooking, preparing, cleaning up, preserving, baking.  It's an area that is a core part of our homes - we need it to work well, but there are really not that many of us who get to design how are kitchens are built.   Rather than dwell on the basic layout of it today...... let's look at putting our own touch on it. 
I have the feeling I may not be the only one with a stash of material..........     So this idea kind of helps a few areas...... it helps to declutter the material stash, use up what you have , provide yourself with a useable item for the kitchen, and the possiblity of making extras that can work as gifts.......... Oh and did I mention it doesn't take much to make!

Pot holders!  I like to have a few on hand so I can throw them into the washing and know I have othes there to take its place!  I also want them to add a bit of "sunshine" or "interest" to my kitchen - and most of all - I don't want to pay  a ridiculous price for them!!!

Have a look through your material stash and pick out some fabric you like - I use a pattern for the front and a plain fabric for the back (the back will fold over the front at the edges).  Before I ended up with a fabric stash, I used to cut up our old clothing that was no longer wearable - I'd throw out the worn sections and keep the good pieces, as well as any buttons and zippers etc.  Check out the op shops or thrift stores too - as they often have sheeting that can be used.  You will also need some wadding to go inside.

I cut my front (patterned) section  7 1/2 inches wide x 8 1/2in long.  My plain backing piece is cut 9 1/2in wide x 10 1/2 in long.  I use 2 pieces of wadding to make a good thickness - but it will depend on what you have or are able to get - just go by feel, remembering you will be picking up hot pots with them!  Cut the wadding to the same size as the front section.  I use 1 piece of iron on wadding which I attach to the wrong side of the patterned fabric, and then I have another piece of wadding which the shop tells me is "heat resistant" wadding.  I also cut this the same size as the front.

Lay out your backing fabric with right side down on the table, put the heat resistant wadding in the middle of it and then add the top section (which has the iron on wadding attached). You want the right side of the front facing up at you.  

 Now begin to iron over the edges - fold the edge of the back to the edge of the front to just touch and then fold it over the top and iron & pin down.  Do this all the way around.  If you want to have a hanger you can either sew a little strip of matching fabric like I've done - or just use some ribbon (mine measures approx 6in in length and it then gets doubled over to place inside).  Place it inside one of the corners as you fold it in.

Now simply sew from edge to edge on each side and "Voila"!  I decided to make up a few of these so that I can put them aside for some christmas and birthday gifts.  If you like this idea, then either print it out , or make a note of it and place it in your homestead binder - label it under Pillar 7   in the gift giving section.

These 2 are definately for a gift and just way too cute I think :)   Have fun!
This post is linked in with: Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Starting a Vegie Patch from Scraps

Besides digging over an area of ground............ for which some areas may have wonderful soil,

Our Vegie garden in Bundalong - peas just planted in April this year
while others have something like clay or sand - what to do to get some vegies going when the budget is already stretched? 
 This is where I was at a number of years ago when we were living in the middle of suburbia in Brisbane.  We were behind on bills, small income, a family of 5 and trying to make ends meet was....... difficult!  Now difficult, even extremely difficult is NOT "impossible" - it does however, mean thinking around corners  at times.  I didn't have enough money to get sufficient groceries ........ ok, so I'll grow some food........... yep, bad soil, and no money to go buy a load in.......... that left, making my own soil!!  I sacraficed a bit of the budget and bought 4 "day old" hens (hens - not chicks as I wanted to know I was going to eventually get eggs - not just a lot of noise LOL).  These are the girls I have now, at our house here in Bundalong.  I feel quite blessed to be able to have hens as they take care of scraps, turn over the compost, keep their yard cleared and give me  manure, eggs, and lots of laughter!

  Making a compost heap is how you go about making soil to build your garden beds!  I've been doing it for years now and although it takes time, it certainly helps the finances!  I start with nothing at all fancy....... a spot in the yard where I can pile all the scraps.  I use whatever I can find to make a back and 2 sides to keep it all "somewhat contained".  Lawn mower clippings, torn up newspapers, cardboard, tissues, etc all go in.  If you have a wood fire, then when you clean it out - add the wood ash to the pile once cold.   As those little day old hens start making a mess - ie manure add that as well, including the wood shavings or straw they have dirtied.  As those hens grow bigger they will be very useful.  Remember to keep it moist (not wet) and turn it over with a garden fork to help everything break down - and before you know it, you'll end up with something like this.....

Inside my kitchen I keep a very small rubbish tidy that I put all my peelings and such into.  I have my compost bins in the same area as the chook yard at this house and the girls love pecking through it all and turning it over for me.

To get your garden bed going...............

First decide where you are going to have your plot and how big you want it to be..... mow the area over as close to the ground as you can and keep those mower clippings.

Time to gather some of your scraps!  Get those used  newspapers, any type of cardboard (cerial boxes, empty tissue boxes etc).   Lay them thickly over the ground and wet it all down.  Don't worry if you don't have enough to do the whole area now........ work on it with scraps as they come to hand.     Throw those mower clippings over the top.   If you have chickens - then clean out the pen and add that straw and droppings etc over the top of the grass clippings.  Now add your soil (this will be coming from the compost heap ).  I have also been known to just begin my gardens following the above steps, but the compost has been "made" right where I plan on having the garden bed.............. and it's worked just fine !
My current compost has 3 sections to it so I can turn stuff over into the next bin.

Potatoes are often a cheap and easy crop to start with............ we tend to use lots of potatoes around here, so I don't mind having them growing in several areas.

Potatoes growing from sprouted supermarket ones
The Peas in June this year

  In this garden bed - I popped in some potatoes that had sprouted in the bag from the supermarket............ I put them ontop of the layer of "soil", cover them with a bit more and then add a layer of straw.  As they begin to grow, I add more compost and straw........... sometimes mover clippings if that is all I have to use.  By the time the potato crop is ready for harvest I have a great vegie bed all built up that can be used for other crops!    I was lucky enough to have some logs given to me that Pete placed around the garden bed for me!  I also have often used seeds that I've kept from vegies all ready on hand like pumpkins, and sometimes tomatoes, cucumbers.  They don't always work, but when funds are limited it's worth trying.             

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Is it that close already?????

Sorry to be the one to tell you........... but Christmas is just over 11 weeks away!!!  How does it come around so quickly I wonder?  So if you haven't thought about it, or decided to try to put that thought aside for a while............ watch out, because it is creeping up.  So this seems like an ideal time to "Bring out the Household Binder
http://www.the7pillarshome.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/the-homestead-binder.html" again -

 this time we are turning to the section that deals with "gift giving".  Depending on how you have chosen to lay out your binder you may just have a section entitled gifts, or you may want to divide that up further to have a whole separate section devoted to Christmas that may include more than just gifts.  As you can see from the date - I made my cover sheet a couple of years ago when I decided to update it (and I should have left the date off). It was one I did up quickly using some christmas fabric and glue sticks.  Have some fun getting yourself ready for christmas by just making up your section divider, and before you know it  you'll be putting down all sorts of ideas!

Since I use "The 7 Household Pillars" as guides within my binder to help me keep focus on why I do things........ The Christmas Giving section goes in behind one of the Pillars.  In other words, the pillars are each made up of various building blocks which together form a pillar (a bit like brick and mortar make the brick pillars of buildings). For me, I like to have my christmas giving as part of Pillar 7 .........

I did have a couple of years where things were so hectic and we had interstate moves and such that I was no way near ready for Christmas until about 4 weeks after it was over!!   Now I don't make a "huge" deal over it - but I do like it to be a time where I can spread some joy and gifting without being stressed over it all.   I try to have a few little items put aside in a basket with little ribbons or such on them so that if someone pops in over that time and I want to give them a little something - I have it there on hand (maybe some home made jam, soaps, pincushion, crocheted dishcloth etc).  These are little items you can make up through out the year to have on hand (all year round - after all, they make good little birthday and thankyou gifts too).  I keep a copy of small patterns I might like to use for christmasy items in this section in order - it helps when you are trying to come up with ideas sometimes.

I'm also one of those old fashioned gals that still likes to use snail mail and has some penfriends scattered in various parts.............sooooo, I like to send out christmas cards.  Speaking of those - I see they are in the shops (yes, I should be making them, but alas - not this year).  So I will be purchasing some of those this coming week and begin getting them written in and addressed so they can all be ready to post out on the 1st December :)   If you are one who likes to do up a "christmas" family newsletter - why not start on that now - easy to save as you go and then it's ready just to print out and post (or email) at the start of December!

It's raining here today - so it's just perfect weather for working on some gifts......... Love Sharm

Monday, October 1, 2012

And the Winner Is...............

CONGRATS TO THE LUCKY WINNER...................... Ruth Millett, you have won the bundle of natural beeswax candle melts.    Please email me your details so I can get them sent off to you

sharmshere@yahoo.com   and don't forget to let me know if you have preferences!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Only a couple of days Left

Don't forget the give away ends at midnight on the 30th September (Australian time), so if you want to be in the draw for some natural bees wax and essential oil candle melts  - all you have to do is click on the follow this blog.  If you are kind enough to share about this on your own blog, then leave me a comment letting me know so you can get an extra entry.  To see which variety or 2 or 3 of candle melt you might like  scroll on down to the post about the give away..............
Rose, Orange, Vanilla, Musk, Lemon, Lavender and Patchoulli Melts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in a House?

"Wisdom has Built Her House, She has hewn out her 7 Pillars" Prov 9:1
Some years ago when I began to work towards changing a house (dwelling) into a Home (a place of refuge from "the world"),  I soon worked out it could become a very complicated matter if you allowed it.......... or, if you began trying to keep up with somebody else!  Our home has never and will never be a "show home".  I strive to manage an air of  "simplicity", and warmth, -  a return to times when things appeared to be much simpler.  Thus began the journey of learning so many "new" skills.  New skills take time and energy and I found I needed Gods guidance to work out how "Wisdom" ever managed to build that house into a home for her  husband, herself and her family!   What developed was what I refer to as "The 7 Pillars"..........They form the basis of my home, and have flowed into how I manage my "Homestead Binder".

Want to know what they are??? 
 1. Gods Word - The Foundation and building blocks for me.  What is the foundation of your home? (Family/ God/ Beliefs/Life Goals)

2. Simplicity - Don't make it too hard! Freedom from complication, Good Stewardship (Frugality / Finances/ Projects / Streamline)

3. Ordered - Routines, organization within the home to make it work for everyone who lives there; Time management, Menus, Seasons, plans.

From the Vegie Garden
4. Good Health - Mind, Body, Soul and home

5. Cleanliness - Springcleaning; Ways of living; House; Body

6. Humility - Understanding our own insignificance and being able to acknowledge our own faults and shortcomings!

7.  Love -  Gift Giving; Voluntary Projects; Projects on the Go;  Snail Mail for friends and Pen pals, Birthdays.

I hope to have your company along the way as we strive together to turn our houses into homes!
Hugs, Sharm

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Monday! What's for Dinner???

It really isn't fun trying to work out at the last minute, what's for dinner each evening, So this morning I thought we could work a bit more on getting our Homestead Binder built up. That would make this part 2 ........ This section is all about working out a Menu Plan ............. I like to have about a 4 or 5 week plan so it's easy to rotate through meals without getting too bored!  This may seem like a daunting task, but really, it won't be all that bad and you can work on it a bit at a time!   Think about your garden, what's coming up soon for harvest, or what preserves do you have stocked in your pantry.............. Once you get a start on this menu planning, you may find you prefer to have a couple of "seasonal" plans for the winter and summer periods when our eating patterns change a little.

Having a Menu Plan helps with time efficiency (- it helps to eliminate or at least reduce time taken thinking about what your cooking, extra trips to the shop for things you don't have,) and also helps with the  budgets.    As with most things, knowing where to start is the biggie - so I thought I'd help you by giving you a blank menu sheet to work from.  This is what I use, but you can adjust your own to however you prefer (Hopefully you can just print out a copy from my page marked "resources")

To begin with, I'm sure you have at least one meal that is pretty much a standard one each week...... for us here, my hubbie likes us to have a roast every Sunday night.......... so straight away I can put "roast" into Sunday (then I add what type of roast I might get for each of the 4 Sundays),  Friday nights are often a very easy type of meal due to things going on, so it might be soup, or savory pancakes, sausage rolls etc.   Are you wanting to have at least 1 fish meal a week - think of various types of fish meals (grilled fish and salad, salmon patties, tuna morney etc) - add these in for each week.  Do you want a pasta meal each week?  If you work part time you might want to enlist the help of a slow cooker........ so think about the types of meals you make up in your slow cooker and add those to the days you work or you know are really busy days for you.   Before you know it, you have your dinner menu sorted out....... don't forget you may want to use left overs for a meal as well - or you may freeze these to use for work lunches.  If you are looking for extra ideas, I'll be slowly adding to the list of recipes - so please feel free to use any of these.

You'll notice I also have a "baking" column on my menu plan as well............ That's because I like to have our own biscuits, slices and cakes available rather than the over processed variety produced at high prices by the supermarkets.  By having a list each week of what I plan to bake for the month ahead, I can make sure the ingredients are all listed on my grocery list and when it comes time to do the baking, I know exactly what I'm making (some of which can often be frozen for use whenever we need to pull something out.........eg,  unexpected visitors).
I'm joining in for the first time with the Homestead Barn Hop - why not drop over and check out some of the other great posts out there that can give you ideas on lots of homestead related items!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Those Dumping Grounds!

This used to be one of those places, but now stays "fair"
Everybody has them I think!  Call it a "dumping ground" or a "Hot Spot" or whatever..... It's one of those places that members of the family (often ourselves included), come into the house and just "plonk" things down.  Amazingly those 1 or 2 items quickly multiply into a thriving nest! 
No matter how many times you clear it down............. yep - it's back there before you know it!
Now we have lived in alot of houses over the last 27 yrs of marriage, and each house tended to have one.   What you need to do is to adapt that spot to help you manage it all.  Depending on where it is, you might be able to pop down a basket to collect it all.  Really though, alot of it depends on the types of items that get placed there........... is it mostly papers, notes, tools, keys, phones???   Take  5 - 10 mins right now and go look through that hot spot............ see what things are actually there.    Now - do they have "homes" of their own already??  Or is it something that you need to make room for in that spot........eg: at my house the "hot spot" is the kitchen counter right beside the phone....... mail, notes etc get opened and left there and until I get a chance to sort it out, it kinda has to stay there, and I'm also looking for just the right spot to put up a key holder on the wall.......... in the meantime, they also get dumped there, along with little "tool" type items from hubbies pockets etc etc.................... At present, this is my solution:
   I have a "paper holder" to hold all the letters/ notes until I have time to sort them to their homes, a dish for the keys, a little holder with business cards waiting to be sorted into the homestead binder pages, the basket for the nicknacs until sorted properly, pencil/pen/scissor holder and phone with address book under it.  Unfortunately the phone could really be in a far better place, but for now............ this is where it is!   The idea is work around the "obstacles" in your house and make it user friendly - to turn it into a home where people feel relaxed when they come in.
Now if you look closely at this photo, I'm sure you can see the 2 plastic tubs sitting on the lounge room floor......... yes, they are waiting to be stacked full of things from the "spare room"........ but that's a project for another day :)
And don't forget, if you want to take part in the giveaway - all you have to do is become a follower of The 7 Pillars Home before the end of September.  Details are in the post titled "give away".

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Think Sink!

Coming out to the kitchen and finding a clean sink, really can make a difference to the start of your day!  I'm lucky enough to have a large window right at my sink so I'm able to use the window sill to place items along it that I like to have at hand..............  The soap dish, nail brush & plug currently sit on a little rag to help protect the wood from water.   I have a little ring holder that I picked up from an op shop for a couple of dollars to pop my rings on before I wash up.  I never used to do this, but lately I've had to get my rings repaired and the cost was crazy!! 

So what else do I have on my sitting on my kitchen window sill???..............
The little vase holds a couple of old toothbrushes that I use for cleaning around the edges of the sink and taps, and also a little paint brush that I find handy for getting into some cracks to dust out.       I don't use a dishwasher here - so yes, all the washing up gets done by hand - it really can be done quickly and the benches all wiped over at the same time.  I always had my kids help out on a roster system in the kitchen with meal time dishes!   As much as I would like to sit after dinner, I find it good to get up and get the dishes done and leave the kitchen looking lovely and fresh ready for the morning.    


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Give Away!!!

It would seem that everyone just loves a give away!  So in celebration of beginning this new blog, I thought I'd have one.   Whenever I'm cleaning the house, I just really love to have candle melts going in several rooms.  I love the fragrance going throughout the house as I'm cleaning it.  I'm trying to use more natural products, so the candlemelts I use are ones I make from beeswax and essential oils, and since this blog is devoted to turning our houses into homes, I thought I'd give a selection of candle melts away. 
 They come in Rose, Orange, Lemon, Musk, Vanilla, Patchoulli, and Lavender!  .....and smell divine I might add!  If you've never used a candle melt before - easy - just get out one of your old oil burners that you put a tea light into the bottom of, and then instead of putting oil in the top (which tends to attract dust), just pop one of these beauties into the top and let it melt down.  When the tea light goes out and it cools down, the solidify again so you don't get the dust going right through! I thought a little bundle of 10 would be nice.

Now because this is a new blog, in order to be in the running to receive this prize, you need to become a member (click on the "join this group" - if you are already a member - thankyou and you will be entered).  If you join and then mention my giveaway on your own blog (let me know in the comments section that you've done this) - then you'll receive another entry..... and because I'm feeling even more generous....... if you happen to be on facebook and "like" my page there, ...... then yes, you get  yet another  entry!  This giveaway is open to overseas as well as here in Australia.  Leave a comment letting me know which fragrance or fragrances you would like in your bundle.
Give away closes on 30th Sep (Australian time)........... with the draw taking place on 1st October, 2012.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Homestead Binder

Often times it's about that feeling of "Where Do I Even Begin"!  Ever had that feeling?  Sometimes getting organized can seem like the hardest thing - but really, it's just like everything else......... it needs to be done a step at a time.

My "old" Binder with photos on front & New Binder
Since I've had lots of questions about my Homestead Binder, I thought this would be a great place to start.

I use my binder to help keep things at hand, all in the one place, organized and streamlined.......... and best of all............. IT WORKS!!!!    I've had one for several years now and every so often I change it over.  This has mostly been because we have moved house, and moved hundreds of miles at the same time......... so what is needed in one home is a little different sometimes to what is needed in another one.  For example-   renovations, business cards for contacting people, your "to do " list etc etc.

My Homestead Journal is a very simple and cheap Ring Binder (I tend to go for one that has just the 2 holes so that most things can be fitted into it).  Have some fun and decorate the outside of it to reflect something about your home, or you, or what you like.  This latest one I decided to cover in some material I had here....... but as you can probably see......   It still revolves around chickens! LOL
Sooooo what do do you put inside it????  Mostly that will depend on you, but I will do, is go through how I use mine.  My homestead Binder contains information to help keep my home (all aspects of it), running smoothly.  That means I have it divided into various sections to make it easy to find things.....with tabs that stick out to make it easier to find things and I have a photo on my division page (this one shows our house soon after we bought it and started to make improvements to it)
.........It contains things like a 5 week menu plan,  what types of foods I want to grow in our vegie garden to help reduce trips to the supermarket , a section that holds all the business cards related to things being done around the "homestead" eg plumber, electrician, vet, car repairs, pump repairs etc etc,  a section for Christmas Plans; an "ideas" section for things that need to be improved or changed around the house......... and the list goes on. 
How you divide your binder up is totally up to you......   But here I will take you through mine one step at a time so that you have the opportunity of building your own binder up in easy steps.  SO.......
Step 1:   Get yourself a binder, have fun covering it and also get some dividers and you may also find it helpful to have some of those plastic pockets to put things in.   At the very front of my binder I have some plastic sleeves that have little pockets to hold business cards (avaiable from Office Works)   
Step 2 to follow soon............  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Starting is Easy.............

Spring Cleaning, Autumn Cleaning, whatever you want to refer to it as........... well, it simply means we are, or rather our house is ready for a good deep cleaning to brush off the dust and clean out some of that clutter that tends to accumulate in places!  It can be daunting....... the whole "where do I even begin" scenario is all too common!  So.......... let's break it down and make it fun and easy at the same time!  This is NOT something that is going to miraculously occur overnight (unless you have the time for a marathon clean out with no interuptions!), so we'll be tackling this one bite at a time.  I'll be listing all these entries under the label of Spring Cleaning Help to make it easier for you to find.

So let's start with a bit of fun......... go check out your bedside tables - can you find 3 or more items on there that really shouldn't be "living" there??  I currently have butter menthols, tissues and a tub of moisterizer!  Time to get them back to their "real" homes and dust down those little tables with a nice bit of furniture polish or conditioner!  While you're at it.......... run the dusting cloth over the bedhead.   Now how much more inviting does that look already?

Next, let's go check out the front of the fridge............ yep, you heard me, the front of the fridge.  If you are like 90% of women out there (including me), then you have a number of fridge magnets holding lots and lots of bits of paper , dockets, photos etc...............  do you have more than 10?  As you can see - I surely do........OK, how many of those do you actually look at, need up there, or refer to??  How many are outdated??  Make yourself a cuppa, and while the kettle is boiling start reading your way through them all......... sort them as you go (bin those that are out of date or no longer useful, any phone numbers should be heading into your phone contact book, and the others can be filed, pinned to a notice board or placed into your homesteading binder. (I'll be explaining the use and the how to of the homesteading binder in another post.) Decide on which ones need to stay up there..... For me, that will be the shopping/erand list and possibly my menu list for the week.  Currently I have a 5wkly menu list that hangs on the inside of my pantry - but I need to have a "current week" menu up in my face so it's easy to see at a glance (once all that other stuff is out the way LOL).
So now we have a starting place and you have something clean and clear in both your kitchen and your bedroom!


After a number of people have asked for assistance/ help in one form or another over the past couple of months, I've decided to run a separate blog and facebook page dedicated to sharing how I do things in and around our little homestead............ which I might add, is just a small home in a small country township on about a 1/3 acre of land.  I have a hen house, herb garden, vegies, fruit trees, love to take care of home and family (our children are now grown and only our 22yr old daughter remains at home), make our own soap and other products (visit www.hazelmerecottage.blogspot.com for further details), work part time as a nurse in chronic disease management  and love all things old fashioned!   I hope this blog inspires you with your own homes!