"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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

SOS - Your Spot of Simplification (Feb Simplify My Home)

February begins tomorrow, and it always seems to be one of those months, that seems to fly by, Summer heat and all - well for me at least.  I also wanted to get this post out ready for the weekend for those of you who have taken up this challenge with me, to simplify your homes this year.
There is more to simplifying a home than just having it clean and knowing where things are kept - a home will feel easy to live in, if it works with you, rather than against you. 
 Let me explain ....... if you like to read for example, but you can never find just the right spot to sit that allows you to feel relaxed, then you end up feeling frustrated...... those feelings of frustration would not be translated to believing your home life is simple ....... you would just feel overwhelmed, cranky that there is never a good spot and somewhat out of control.  It could be any number of situations that work this way ......like where you sit to do the bill paying/budgets,  crafting, meal planning, writing letters,  your quiet time alone with God. 

One of my SOS places

 As women, we often are busy doing things for everyone else, and there is no time, or energy left for ourselves.  Unless we look after ourselves, we will not be able to give properly to others.   With this in mind,  February will become the month for us to locate an area  or areas of the home that are special "spots" for you.  I'm going to refer to it as your " Spot of Simplification" , because that allows you to be able to do anything you need to do that helps you in that special spot - be it paying the bills to clear debts, writing letters, reading a book or working out the weeks menu, it is a place in which you can feel you have a pleasant place to sit for that specific purpose!  You can have 1 Spot of Simplification  (SOS - how appropriate since it is a lifeguard spot for us), or you may have a couple for set purposes eg:  a writing desk for bill paying and letters; and a  chair in the corner of the garden or on the veranda for quiet times of prayer, reading and maybe even some handiwork.   The cane wicker chair you see above was found by my hubbie, ready to be thrown out.  He rescued it, and after a good wash, I just love having this chair on my front veranda..... it's become a favourite SOS!   I want us to spend February setting  up your SOS,  or perhaps, like me, you need to work on decluttering one of your spots ..... so that it works for us,  instead of against us, and most of all it  is pleasant to be in. 
my writing desk... needs a declutter!
If you hate the look of it, trust me, you won't be going there very often!!  It needs to function, so think about the types of things you want to do in that SOS.  Try and keep it simple, useable, clutter free, and enjoyable!

Remember the missions for each month will be on the page tab at the top here.  Now I'm off to do a bit more decluttering at my writing desk ......... after a cuppa in my cane chair  xo 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goodbye January

Can you believe January is almost over!! It has been a very hot month here in this neck of the woods and our garden has struggled.  This is my first year of having raspberries and while they are beginning to produce a few berries, the leaves look burnt to a crisp in some parts!  
The veggie garden has not done so well this year, I think that came down to us being away when we should have been planting out...... Those couple of weeks can make all the difference, so holidays will not be taken during the October/November period in future!! 
However, this goes to prove how growing some veggies
in among the flowers can be beneficial .......last year I planted a Roma tomato in my garden along the front fence........ Just so it would be away from hubbies beloved gross lissie tomatoes .... It produced well, and I allowed a couple of the tomatoes from it to fall to the ground and stay there....     Now this year, here I have some lovely Roma tomatoes that have grown all by themselves!  Yes they are smaller, but don't let that stop you, they still have a wonderful flavour, and they still make relish and cook up well!!  Best of all...... No cost at all!!

Egg production has decreased a little with the heat stress being felt by the girls,  and of course Scarlet (the white silkie) and Mary (the small black pekin) have decided its perfect for going
broody!  With no rooster (unable to have them here) and now at capacity of  number of hens allowed here............ they are sitting on empty nests!  The 4 young hens I kept from the chickens are growing and by Autumn they will be close to laying - meaning we will continue to get eggs throughout the winter this year!

A reminder to those who were taking part in the dishcloth swap - time to mail out this week please.

And Finally for those who are working with me in the "Simplify my Home Challenge" how have you gone with the January Missions?  If you need to take a look at them, there is a tab at the top of the pages where you can find all the info.  I've been busy working in my kitchen to rearrange, declutter and wipe down cupboards, pantry and such.  If like me you also work part time, then you don't always get the time you would like, so concentrate on those parts that really annoy you, or are on show when visitors turn up.    Keep tuned............. the Feb list will be up shortly!
Hugs to all,

In Response

What wonderful comments and emails I have received from so many over the past week, and so many new followers who came over to visit via the GYB party.... this post is to say a big Thankyou
She seemed to think this was a good place to sit on a very hot day!
to you all.  I am getting back to each of you via emails now from your comments and emails sent to me, I am visiting each of your blogs where you have one, and I have been looking at all the topic requests and questions that have also been included in the emails or comments.

I find it really helpful when I ask a question, or request something of somebody, if they at least acknowledge it, so I am attempting to do the same here for each of you.  If you find you have more questions or such, then just ask ........... the only silly question is the one that never gets answered because it never gets asked! 
So it seems on the agenda from those emails we have chickens, gardening, dishcloths, canning,
homestead binders, simplicity ........... all favourites of  mine!  Take a look back at some of the older posts as you may find what you are looking for, or stay tuned as we get onto the topics.

For a quick one for those of you who were asking about home made dishcloths........ I love them to bits!  I find I prefer to have a hand knitted or crocheted cloth sitting on my sink than an old chux cloth or sponge that is who knows how old!  For the kitchen and cleaning, you must use cotton yarn.  Anything else tends not to wipe up spills, or work well on benchtops etc or leaves fibres
behind.  Any made with synthetics will work well for mirrors though :)   I tend to crochet mine just because I find I'm far better at crochet than knitting.  For a very simple and quick one, chain 27, then an extra 3ch for turning and using a treble stitch continue each row until you have between 10 - 12 rows, depending on the size you prefer. At the end, I usually do a few chains to make a loop to hang it up by if desired...... mostly it just finishes it off nicely!   If you have never made or used crocheted dishcloths before, then this is the pattern to go for.  Once you have the basics you can change your stitches or shape to suit yourself.  I find putting in rows of double crochet is useful (creates a type of bumpy effect), for using on benches that need a bit of elbow grease from time to time.  These also make great additions for use as gifts or in swaps.

Have a blessed Day

The Ovens River ...... just up the road

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog

I came across this link up the other day and thought it was a great way of Re introducing myself and this blog, and provided an easy way for others to be able to visit for perhaps the first time.  So if this is your first time here.....Welcome! 
attempting a selfie while getting ready for work
 I like to be called Sharm by my friends and fellow bloggers, and I'm a 51 yr old wife, mother, and grandmother.  While I love to be at home, I still have to work outside the home, part time, ( I'm a nurse and care coordinator at a hospital ) , in one of the nearby towns.   

with my granddaughter

The 7 pillars Home Blog is devoted to what I believe are the 7 Pillars of  being a wife and caring for your home and family, regardless of if you are a stay at home or working woman.  Knowing that there are times throughout the life of a woman where she has lots of demands placed on her, my goal here on this blog, is to attempt to share some of those ideas,  tools,  and experiences I have used or am experiencing as we travel through life  here at our little country cottage in North East Victoria.  
Our cottage is small, and is set on just 1/4 - 1/3 acre block with other houses surrounding us.  I am always amazed  by how much we can achieve in such a relatively small area.

  In other words, you don't need to have a farm, or a mansion in order to achieve great things.
Simplicity is the key for me, that and keeping in mind our main focus here at The 7 Pillars Home is using what you have, gaining skills to use, or trying to produce low cost ways of creating a pleasant place that you enjoy being in and calling home.   

The blog is relatively new in a manner of speaking , and I initially questioned myself about continuing with it.....but then as a couple of readers suggested that this was indeed useful, and helpful, it seemed that If I could help just one other lady through this blog, then that to me was a useful purpose.    

So if  reducing debts, homestead binder, gardening and skills in order to help produce food for the table,  homemade soap, laundry liquid,  menu planning, organising, turning the house into a home..........

If those things take your fancy, or stir something deep within you, then it's just possible that you might enjoy visiting here from time to time.  The kettle is always on, so feel free to drop by anytime!

Hugs Sharm
PS:  if you are wondering just what those 7 pillars are, then just click on the tab at the top of the page.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dishcloth Swap and Shiny Sinks

Don't forget about the Dishcloth swap - time is running out to register for this.  You have until 20th January to sign up....  all you need do is make 3 dishcloths and have them ready to post out on 31st Jan.  You also need to include a treat to go with them..... perhaps a sachet of nice coffee, tea or chocolate to enjoy!  Just leave me a comment at the bottom of this post, or email me if you want to take part

Following my home challenge to simplify my home (missions and challenges can be found by tapping on the tab "simplify My Home Challenge" above)  I've been working my way through my kitchen.  It's amazing the amount of stuff that accumulates in cupboards and drawers!!  I have just one set of crockery plus a set of large bowls (useful for when we have spaghetti or soups and
stews)...... but I am sick of having to bend down to access them......  voila, they are now located in the big drawer for easy access.  It's another way to simplify things, which is the whole point of this exercise!    But I also love to see a nice shiny sink....... it tends to make the kitchen sparkle, even when a cupboard bench might have a pile of shopping on it waiting to be put away,  or  family have done the daily "dump the goods".   I sprinkle bicarb of soda over it all with a good lot over the drain holes,  use a toothbrush to give the taps and edges and drain plugs a scrub, then pour white vinegar over it all, give it a wipe over and pour a bit more vinegar down the plug holes (this helps to clear and clean the drain pipes and neutralises nasty smells).  Then just rinse it all away and dry it down!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Apricot Delight

We have been very blessed this year already with our apricot tree giving us a lovely crop! This is just the 2nd year it has cropped, and last year was just 4 apricots......but this year there were enough  (after the birds got the first bit and we quickly netted the tree),....... we ate fresh, but I also baked apricot muffins, apricot pie, and bottled some in a very simplistic manner that works so very well.

Since this post is also being linked back to     The Homestead Barn Hop         I would love to share the simplicity of bottling fruit with nothing more that old jars and a saucepan for basic equipment!   You need to use old glass jars that had that metal seal cap ( like the pasta sauce ones and such.....you know, they make a pop sort of noise the first time you open them........ you can see them in the pic with the green lids).  Sterilize your jars, and while they are either boiling or sitting in the oven doing that, cut up your fruit, pop it into a saucepan with a very good amount of sugar and water.........more than you would normally put in to stew your fruit.  Bring to the boil, once you have stirred the sugar in to the mixture, and cook to the consistency of your choosing.  Now while the bottles are hot fill them with the fruit mixture, allowing the syrup to go up to the top of the jar. Place the lids on tightly and just leave them be.  At some point over the next 30 mins you will hear the pop as the lid seals itself to
the jar.  Now just label your jar.  I always put the date on mine so I can use the oldest ones first.  I learnt this neat trick last year and tried it very successfully with apples!!!  
I have found these keep quite well for a number of months, just kept in my pie cupboard which I use to hold all my preserves and spare jars and my homemade soaps live down the bottom section of it.......but that's a whole other post!

Friday, January 3, 2014

January Missions

For those of you who have decided they are keen to simplify there homes, and are joining me in this process, I have made a special tab so you can easily find the posts relating to this challenge.  The missions for January have been posted up.  January is all about getting on top of  your kitchen, and menu planning.  If your kitchen bench is often used by the family as a dumping
ground, then you might also want to take a look.   If  you want to take part, then grab the pic on the sidebar and link it back to here so you can keep up with the missions.  Because many of us work outside the home, I have posted all 4 of the January Missions so you can work through them at your own pace.
Don't forget about the dishcloth swap -  closing date for getting your name down is 20th January.  details are HERE

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Building our Tiny Retreat

Almost 4yrs ago when we moved here, the house had a little single carport adjacent to the house, but not really lined up well with the drive or gates.  Since then we built the double carport in front of it, and , after much patient (sometimes inpatient) waiting by me, especially when I read of others in the midst of building tiny houses and studios in their backyards, ....... my very wonderful hubbie decided to start work on transforming the single carport into that extra space so we have somewhere for friends and family to stay when they come to visit with us.

You can see the side fence through the framework & the cute window with the mirror.

  I've now named it "the retreat", as I see myself being able to retreat out to it and enjoy some space away from the living area of our home where there will be NO television!!  We are spending minimal money on it, using lots of left over building material we already have here for the framework.  In order to reduce the amount of outside sheeting or plasterboard inside we took a trip to a second hand place back in September to purchase some 2nd hand old windows and door.  We managed to find some old fashioned style large windows for 2 sides which will take up much of the area, an old door, and a smaller window for the far end which is an old bathroom window which has a mirror in the middle on the inside with the old bathroom shaving cabinet behind it!  We got all these windows and door for less than $200.00 

As you can see you can walk straight out from our kitchen door on the house across the side verandah and it will lead into the little retreat!  We still have a way to go and completion will slow down as Pete has to return to work on Friday.  He had hoped to get the concrete floor in, but has decided he will get the concrete premixed which means waiting till the concrete company return to work in mid January.  In the meantime however, I get to find, source and locate and plan how the inside will work, what curtains, floor covering, small benchtop counter will go inside.  I'm quite excited that I will have this little project to keep me busy with over the next few months as I make things to go inside to make it cosy and inviting, but simple and minimal.
The view from the washing line towards the front driveway. You an see the double carport there right in the front of the property.  The laundry steps and my herbs are in the foreground of the picture


Here is the view from the front yard.  I like how its tucked away with bushes between it and the next door fence, even though the next door red roof still stands out for now.