"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, 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!