The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 19th January, 2018.

This week has disappeared a bit too fast on me!  It is hot here and hotter at the farm.  Yesterday I went to the shops nearby and I suddenly felt my face was sun burned.  But I have kept out of the sun and I realised it was just the radiated heat from the pavement and my face was actually burning from that!   Otherwise I kept inside until the evening and we went for a beautiful swim.  Swimming makes me sleep like a log!

This week I made apple and yoghurt muffins for everyone as I had a lot of my yoghurt to use up.  I use this recipe here.  This recipe is so versatile you can use up anything so in this case I used yoghurt in place of the milk and added two cups of stewed apples.  They worked really well.
I made mini ones for the girls and decorated them with fairies!

I gave the ballerinas a rest.  The beauty of these is I just have used them over and over.  Usually I am asked where I got them from.  These were Australian from TheTicTacTop shop which is on fb,  Etsy and a website  if that is any help.  They are not flimsy and will last and last.  I even put the fairy ones on meatballs at one stage!

These and fresh flowers are my current way around not very good icing skills. 

I used up the very last of the plums.   I pureed some and swirled this through cake mix to make a ripple effect.  Then I added some on the top...

When baked they just looked lovely and pink.

So I called them pink cakes and they were a hit and so full of fruit.  
I also made a giant slab using my use it up fruit cake... recipe.

This used up two dozen more plums!  It went home with Chloe and she sliced and froze some for farmer Luke to take to work.  This cake served warm makes a beautiful desert too.

So it was cake week!   Much of this went into the freezer for when so much produce is no longer around.

The rest of the plums were stewed and frozen and eaten fresh.  They were wonderful!

I picked parsley seeds and make 24 seed packets.

I gathered little succulents to send someone as a gift. 

We picked tomatoes every day.

I found salmon on a big special of 80% off and got it for Andy to eat yesterday and today.

My Coles vouchers came and I got  $20 off a shop.  I stuck all my coupons into my diary as there is one a week for the next 12 weeks.

Chloe gave me two dozen farm eggs.

I picked another four kilos of nectarines.  We have been eating these fresh plus I stewed some and filled seven freezer containers.  I still have a few to pick which I will probably do tonight and I have a few kilos to use spread out on the floor.   Next is peaches!  I will also check how the peaches are doing tonight.  I think one week more...

Andy's Vicky Challenge efforts included home brew and sales.  He hit $500!  He is fairly smug about this I might add.  He likes the Vicky Challenge.  😊

My sewing challenge went well.  Better than last week.  Even a few minutes a day soon add up.  
Overall my aims and goals are going pretty well.  I need to keep an eye on them by looking at my planner a lot.  I seem to need endless tracking.  To keep right with my diet I keep a food journal.  I do some reading every night before I go to sleep.  I take a break somewhere to do some Bible Study.  I am reading one Laine's Letter everyday.  I know success comes with the things we just do daily as part of life.  My Scripture reading every day has made me so much happier.  It is nourishment! 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you feather your nest,  save or get ahead?  
Have a lovely weekend!   xxx

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Present Cupboard. Getting the ball rolling!

This year I am looking at my present making as both a Christmas and a Birthday Challenge.   Having a good stash of gifts is a huge money and time saver.   I never need to run out to buy a card and gift.  The times I have really gone over budget have been due to the pressure to find something fast... so you are kind of desperate and it is all downhill from there!

I look in my planner and see the birthdays and special occasions coming up so hopefully none sneak up on me!  In our family there are a lot of Birthdays in January and I am happy to say I have got them all.  I have two to wrap yet!

After Christmas the present cupboard is very depleted and it is time to start again!  Post Christmas and January sales help a lot.  I am re stocked in Christmas wrap and tape all at 70% off normal prices.  I notice after Christmas all this is about half price.  I wait.  Once we are at 70% then I'm interested!   And it worked this year so I am stocked back up.

A supply of ready to go gifts is like the pantry, it is like money in the bank.  Come Christmas we really only have to think about the food side of expenses.  But even those I watch during the year for specials and stash things away.
If I hear of someone having a baby or some kind of need I usually can go to the present cupboard and gather together baby supplies and a baby blanket.
So there are many advantages!

All year I watch for perfect presents, great deals and I work on making things.  Right now it is hot here and there are indoor days.   It is lovely having things to work on happily when it is too hot outside.   The tennis is on in the evenings so I am using my crochet cotton to make some baby rugs.  During the day I usually get to my sewing challenge and do my fifteen minutes of sewing.  I haven't done very much but I got the ball rolling!

The first thing I made was Harpers first pillowcase.  She loves anything to do with ballet so I made her a ballerina pillowcase.

She loves it!   It looks very pretty in her room as well.

I have a lot of very soft pre used flannelette that I have saved and I have cut this into large sized handkerchiefs for sick times.   I used to make them as disposables as they are so much softer than tissues but no one will throw them out. So now I hem them.   They are just so much softer than tissues (Kleenex) or regular cotton.   They are a life saver when sick!  I have a stack for the Harper and Scarlett so far.  These go into my medical cupboard. 

Also I had thick velour and I have this cut to make heat packs for winter.  A couple of these will be gifts.   I have enough for six packs and I now have the wheat! 

Then I went on to another pillowcase so they can be rotated and washed. 

This one has two different sides and a trim of white daisy braid from my box of bits and pieces.

When cutting them out I ended up with a few ballerinas that I can appliqué somewhere in the future.

Smaller bits of fabric could make little pillowcases or cushions,  book bags or a little skirt I am thinking...

I am counting some of my jam making as gifts too!  I have a few little baskets so I can make mini hampers with three types of jam.   Plus I already gave some away as gifts of help.

I have some baby items to embroider.  So by the end of the month I will have an ok start on re filing my cupboard.  This doesn't sound like much but as the year goes on it is amazing how this all adds up!  

Next week we will start Show and Tell.  Already I have some beautiful photos of some of your creations!   If you would like to join in please email me at or post photos to the Bluebirds Facebook page.  We have all shared so many ideas and this is such a help to find things to make especially from supplies we might already have on hand.  I am very much on a "use it up" challenge.  This turns all kinds of things you have stashed away into beautiful gifts plus also maybe useful and lovely things for the home.  

For lots of you this is indoor weather due to the cold not the heat!  Either way it is so nice to be perfectly content and have projects to work on.  As our school holidays usually had some really hot days when the girls were little we would all craft and make things during the day then in the evening  we used to go to the beach for a swim.  There is no boredom when you have things to make!  It is so much fun!  These times can be great for learning a new skill or improving one.  

I hope your week is going well!  What are you working on?   If we get started now we will have so much by December and have lots to give during the year as well.  Busy hands really do make happy hearts! xxx

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The World within our Walls. Get the ball rolling.

When we were little Mum often had the dinner table set long before dinner.  She said even if she hadn't started cooking yet the table being set and looking nice was a way to get the ball rolling,  be welcoming and build anticipation that dinner was coming!   And so when she had a moment she would get the table set.  

At Christmas there is so much to do.  Mum sets the table the day before so this gets a lot of work done and out of the way and there is more time to do it nicely.

This Christmas I noticed Chloe has taken this all on board.  She was going to be out on Christmas Day then home in the evening to serve dinner for the evening meal.  She had the table set and ready and started a couple of days before.

We also always got our school bags ready the night before and Mum packed the school lunches in the evening.  Clothes were lined up ready for in the morning.   
When I grew up I didn't think about it and just automatically planned outfits for the next day and got things ready for the morning rush.  And then when I had the girls at school we would get everything ready the evening before right down to the hair ties and bags packed except for the lunches which would come out of the fridge at the last minute! 

I am not good in the mornings!  So getting everything ready the night before makes sense! 

As I started my sewing challenge I had so much to do.  I thought this is never going to happen!  The first day was almost over and nothing was done so before I went to bed I thought I will  get the sewing machine out and set it up on the table.  This only took a few minutes.  
The next day was no better.  But I thought I will just fill a bobbin and thread the machine and this only took a couple of minutes. 
In the evening I thought I will just get out some fabrics and start to make a plan...

Then the next day I cut out a pillowcase while dinner was cooking.  And this is often how things get done.  In increments!  A few minutes here and there.  But they add up amazingly! 

Being terrible in the mornings I often will set the slow cooker up the night before.  I will just get it out and sit it on the bench ready.  The other day I was going to cook a corned beef.  So I sat it out and filled it with water.  I got the ball rolling! 

In the morning I just turned it on when I made coffee.  The next time I was in the kitchen I added the actual meat!  (progress!) and later I added the pepper and bay leaves.  And now things were chugging along...

And by evening it was delicious and tender and I also had both dinner and Andy's lunches for several days. 

Other times I will get the slow cooker going and at least get the meat on.  Then as the day goes on I might add things. 

This is especially true of chicken soup with so many things to chop.  As long as the water, beans and chicken are on then later I will be adding garlic, onion,  carrots, herbs and so on. 

When baking things will often go the same way!  I will think that I will sit my sour dough starter out on the bench and feed it a few times.  
The next day I think ok I will just make some dough. 

Eventually I have a tray of something made and the steps were just achieved in moments I grabbed!

Big projects are very much like this.  We can't do them all at once.  They are made a bit at a time. Yet amazing things are done this way.  I look at Pat's quilts!  So much work!  But I know she would do her daily tasks and when she has time do a bit more on a quilt.  In the evenings I will usually do a few more rows on what I am working on.  It is a bit here and a bit there.  But eventually a blanket is finished! 

Whatever it is you just have to get things started. Get the ball rolling!  

There is so much to do at home.  We can't hope to do things all at once.  If we can just get things started we can add to that.

Yesterday I needed to use the last of the plums.  And I had a couple of hundred still.... I really couldn't face them all at once.  So I made it that every time I was in the kitchen I would cut up ten.  And by mid afternoon they were done!  I put one lot on to simmer and the others on for jam.  It is all done! 
Today I am facing the same situation with nectarines!  I have lots of things to do today.  But I already set the stockpot on the stove and sterilised some jars last night so I got the ball rolling a little bit at least! 

The spare room is in a terrible state.  I have made it that I have to sort and put away ten things a day.  I can do that.  By the end of next week is should be ship shape!  You can spring clean a whole house in 5 minutes a day,  re organise the pantry... anything! 

Setting things out and getting them started is the biggest part to me.  I add a step or two as I can.   Whatever it is the key to success is getting started!   Break it down into little steps.  With this you can tackle anything that needs doing.  

What helps you to get things done and get the ball rolling in your home? 
Do you have something you have been putting off but that could really be done a few minutes at a time? 

Have a wonderful new week.  We have a beautiful day but it is heating up.   I am off to shops, pay bills, babysit and then get the nectarines that need to be used all done!  I have some freezer room again.  I sent Chloe home with lasagna, jam, stewed cherries, banana cakes, the beautiful linens and more. This makes me happy!  And now I have room in the freezer which makes me happy too!  😊 xxx

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th January, 2018.

I am so glad I write things down!  Sitting here going over my week it seems like forever since last Friday!  It was a big week!

This is our fruit season and I had worried about this year as most of the trees that have provided us fruit belonging to neighbours and had all been cut down.  I prayed that I will still end up with fruit but I did not expect such big results!  And I still have more coming!
First of all I had the plums that I shared on Monday from my Aunt.  Most days I have been making something with those.

So far I have made lots of jam and it is just beautiful.   

I made crumble and stewed up big pots for stewed fruit.  I have frozen containers of these which I will use for the rest of summer.    Chloe will be here over the weekend and she will take some home and I am making my use it up fruit cakes tomorrow to take care of some more!

On the way home from my Aunts I went to a fruit shop and they had big bags of cherries out on an amazing special.  I love cherries so much and it is nothing for them to be $20 a kilo ($10 a pound) so I bought a five kilo bag!   (I got them for $4 a kilo)  So then I had a car load of plums and huge bag of cherries!  
These were so good and we lived on them for days.  I stewed up most of them which is exactly like tinned black cherries. 

The syrup is beautiful and the colour gorgeous!

Lucky I have Mum's freezer space which is about full after all of this! 

On Tuesday I headed off to see Hilde and do my further afield grocery shopping.   These days have been paying off so much.  And Tuesday was another success!   I found a new fruit and veg shop to try.   A lady told me about it on Facebook!   Well, this was a fantastic tip!   I ended up with half cases of strawberries for $4.  I have never seen prices like this.  These prices were about one tenth local prices.

I couldn't believe it!  I also got apricots for the same price.
This store will be on my regular circuit from now on! 

Other savings that day were hair colour for 33c a box as opposed to the normal $20 each.  I got 12 just to put away and keep me going for ages.  This alone was a saving of $236.   
Also shampoo, conditioner, volume spray all for equally tiny prices. 

I had afternoon tea with Hilde who gave me lemons and for my Birthday she gave me a vintage tea set which is just gorgeous!  It has little pink roses on a lemon background.  I just love it!

The lady I met on Facebook who had told me about the fruit and veggie store....  this was a funny one.  We both belong to a household organisation group.  She had posted that she was wondering where to donate lots of old linens.   I saw this and wrote to her and told her my daughter is having a country wedding and we are collecting vintage linens for projects we are making for this.   I sent her photos of how it is going to look.  I thought this was a wild long shot!  Also that she probably lived too far away.  She wrote back and said she had just what we needed and it turned out she lived fifteen minutes from Hilde's!  I couldn't believe it!  
So my next stop was her place on the way home.   I made a friend!  She has a beautiful home with a huge pantry!  She grows veggies and herbs.  She sews!  She was just lovely!  And the linen!  There was lace, embroidery and everything we need.  
On top of this she gave me a stunning Shabby Chic style mirror!  And olives she had picked herself. 
This was all too good to be true and once again I didn't get murdered meeting someone I met on a Facebook page! haha. 
Chloe is coming up tomorrow.  I can't wait for her to see all of these supplies for her wedding projects!   Then the sewing will begin!

Back home I have had my work cut out.  The apricots needed using first.  I stayed up late Tuesday night and made most into jam.  It is a beautiful colour.  

There are so many uses for jam all year.  Also a collection of jams is a lovely gift.  I thought I would never get to bed that night.  There I was making jam and I had a car load of unpacking to do which just had to wait!

Next I needed to work on the strawberries.  We ate some fresh for a few days and then I cooked up a huge amount.

The smell of them cooking was just beautiful.   So now I also have strawberry jam. 

The tree in the lane kept producing ripe nectarines and I picked about 13 kilos this week.  Luckily these will last a few more days before I need to use them.  

I packaged up dried roses and petals for a swap.  They look so nice in their box ready to go! 

Each day we picked cherry tomatoes.   I am using these up fresh in salads most days.  

My parsley is going to seed everywhere.  I started to pick the seed heads to package it up to include in the next swap party.

I need to count my total number of jars of jam and containers of stewed fruit... then I can finish adding up my Vicky Challenge.  It will be a good week!

Andy worked on a couple of projects towards his part of the Vicky Challenge but they will get included when they are finished, next week I think.

I am taking part in a book study with Patsy.  We are reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The first chapter is "Make Hay while the Sun Shines"  so I finally found out where that came from.  I guess that is what I have been doing this week!  

On Wednesday it was my Birthday.  We went to the beach in the evening.  It was so beautiful.  The water looked like a mirror and I snapped this photo before we left...

My sewing challenge is going ok but I missed two days due to fruit!   I will share what I have been making next week.  

I hope you had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead and feather your nest?
How are you going with your goals and challenges?  
How are you making hay while the sun shines?  Some of us are in heat and some of us are in freezing conditions!  We have to just go by the season we are in!

Have a wonderful weekend.  I am baking and working on the fruit I still have... and this is before the peaches in the lane are ready.   I never knew of this tree or the nectarine tree until I started my nightly walks.  To my amazement it appears no one picks any of it.  So now my nightly walk includes carrying a big basket! xxx


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The World within our Walls. The art of saying no.

There are just so many aspects of creating a home in a way that is a safe haven, a place you truly feel relaxed and free to just be yourself.   We are aiming for a home that will build you up (and everyone who lives here) and that restores and reassures.

One huge factor is time. Time to enjoy, get things done, make good meals, sit at the table and eat together, craft... everything we do in  our lives and homes takes time. Without enough of it we are soon in chaos, mess and there is no peace or enjoyment.  Life in a hurry is just stressful.  It wears out down. We cannot think straight!  These things are a terrible stress on anyone and especially little children.

The photos in this post are from Chloe! 
After the last post she sent me pictures and said Mum, I have been putting words that inspire me where I can see them everyday!  
She printed all of these for free or a couple of dollars and got frames from the bargain store. 
So we were thinking the same thing, how to make the home an encouraging place!

We all want to be polite, helpful to others, a good listener, generous.  We don't want to offend...
This all can lead us to saying yes to so many things that we back ourselves into a really hideous corner and we don't know quite how it happened but we know it is awful and the house and family are suffering because we are truly hopeless at saying no.

There have been times I remember regretting saying yes before I even finished saying it.  Other times where I have thought up wild and elaborate scenarios that could possibly get me out of something I really, really don't want to do but of course this is all imaginary and overly hopeful and I just did them anyway.

A while back I wrote a post on when the girls were little and how I really had to learn to say no and how realising what my mission was really helped me to do that.  That post is here... Your time.

Laine also wrote a new year letter on the subject which I love and you can find that here..  She puts it that the Proverbs woman considered a field.  In a similar way we are considering a field of time!

Over the years I have found I struck gold when I stopped replying to any request or invitation.  This is the key!  My standard response is to say thank you so much!  Thank you for thinking of me!  I will think this over and talk to Andy about it.  Or "I will check my diary and get back to you".
This is perfectly reasonable and polite.
It gives you time to actually think!  Now I can consider how the request is going to impact the household.   This has saved me from so many disasters!

If you turn to jelly under pressure practice what to say!  At one stage I have my reply printed and posted near the phone... this was how bad I was at saying no!  I would look at my sign and repeat the script "thank you for asking,  I will have to look at my diary and I will get back to you as soon as I can..."

My improvement these days comes from not feeling I need to explain myself .  If I have decided I need to decline something I used to feel it necessary to come up with a long and interesting story about why I had to say no.
Now I don't think this is the way to go and I am more likely to say I am unable to attend or that I just do not have the time to do something.  Sometimes I might offer an alternative for example.. if I want to contribute to something then I will come up with something that I can do to help that is manageable instead.

In the evenings Andy and I will talk about some of these things and usually he is on the same page.  Sometimes we have had a laugh at how badly we both DON'T want to do the same thing.  Many times this will involve a party.  Andy would rather dental surgery than go to a party.
Should we ever actually go to a party it is not without an escape plan.

In general the peace in our home is mainly ruined by me taking on too much.  It is a hard balance to get right but without fail if I am out too much things go down hill and fast.  So I need to be careful and some of the times I need to say no are to myself. Often when planning my week I can see I have planned too much and that I need to reduce my list.  So this is a" no" to some of my own plans.

While we are thinking of things that are going to interrupt the peace at home there are many times we need to say no to requests that are going to ruin the budget.  Being able to say no here is equally important.   Most people are not going to care less if their request is something you can afford or if it will mean you have no time to sit down to dinner with your family, read a story to your child or get the lunches made and packed.   It is our job to protect the things that are important and know our priorities.  Then it is a little easier to say no.

This is a big subject!   "She looks well to the ways of her household"  includes so many things!  Caring for your family and household are huge responsibilities!   Learning to prioritise and being able to say no when needed is really important.  

I had a request the other day.  In my mind I was thinking "THERE IS JUST NO WAY..."  and I said "thank you for asking!  I am going to get back to you on this after I tell Andy about it"  and I made my escape!

Now there are times of crisis that are exceptions and we have to say yes in order to help, save the day and rescue someone.  We are not talking about those.  In general it is just up to us to be guardians of the household,  the budget and our own time.   It is ok to say no.

Now and then you get someone who won't take no for an answer!  They want to argue with you!  Or they don't seem to comprehend!  I think what part of no is hard to understand!? haha!  They might even tell you that you can't say no,  there is bullying and persuasion!  This has happened to us all.  I have a little alarm system that goes off then!   My "no" goes up a notch to the red light no!

You are doing an important job.  Week by week we are building up our homes and feathering our nests.

Do you have trouble with saying no?
Do you feel there is too much on your plate to have a peaceful home?
Next week we are looking at when too much stuff takes over and makes us feel overwhelmed, messy or anxious!

I hope your week is going well!
See you on Friday! xxx

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Joy in the simple things.

After my post on Friday I headed off to see my Aunt.  She had messaged me and said she has ripe plums and to come and pick them!  So off I went!

It was a gorgeous afternoon!  The plum tree is huge and it was covered in beautiful huge lilac plums.  The prettiest colour!  And there were so many!  I was armed with baskets,  my Aunt was armed with buckets and we chatted and worked away picking fruit.  It was a pretty warm day too but mostly we were in the shade of this beautiful tree.   We filled container after container.   Then we took a break.  I felt we had been doing a pretty good job but when I stood back and admired our work you couldn't even tell we had picked any!  We literally made no impression at all!  The tree was still absolutely covered!

We decided a cup of tea would be a good idea and took a break.  There were stories of some of my Dad's adventures and plum recipes.   My Aunt always makes a pot of tea and gives me a big cup and saucer covered in roses.

I wear pearls a lot but as I was talking with my Aunt I decided I need to wear them all the time.  She was wearing the most gorgeous large baroque pearls and they were so lustrous they lit her face in a kind of halo of light.  They were so stunning.  So note to self to wear my pearls.  And here she was having an afternoon of fruit picking wearing her pearls.
I told her how stunning they looked and she told me she always wears them to bed.  That way if an ambulance comes they will see her wearing her pearls and treat her well.
Maybe I better start wearing my pearls to bed!

With a very hot day forecast my Aunt was organised to stay indoors the next day.  She had drinks in the fridge and a plan if the power goes out.  I also noted she has a cooler in the lounge room and a cooler in her bedroom.  Just the lounge room was on and she would swap when she goes to bed if it was hot.  With power prices now it is much easier to heat or cool one room you are using than a whole house.  Most of our homes are open plan now as when they were designed electricity was affordable.  Now the rooms you can close up are probably much more sensible!
Other aspects of her preparedness are her rainwater tank,  plenty of supplies and her hammer near the front door in case she needs to smack someone in the head.

Then it was back to more plum picking.  Now I am thinking of what to make.  Plum jam,  crumble (crisp), cobblers, my use it up fruit cake with yoghurt...  Then I am considering exactly how much freezer space does Mums freezer have now?
My Aunt knew that most of the fruit trees I had to pick from near me are now all knocked down.  She said as she rides her bike she sees new houses going up and they plant a lawn and have a couple of trees or shrubs planted out the front.  She said what a waste. They could have fruit trees!  "People think just because there is plentiful food now that there always be"  but one day they will be sorry...

So it was wonderful and joyous and I loaded all these baskets into the car.   My Aunt said how it runs in the family to love fruit trees and especially lemons and also to hate golf.   Generations have loved fruit picking, lemons and hated golf.  And here I am the exact same!
All this was great fun to me.  My Aunt increasingly reminds me of my Nanna which is really nice.
Nanna was so happy with simple things like some flowers or some eggs and some lemons!  I can't think of anyone happier than she was.  She was just so enthusiastic and so friendly.

My Dad mentioned this last time we went mushrooming.  I said how Nan would have had a great time.  And Dad said oh yes she would love it!  And how he remembers picking up wood for the fire and Nan would be so excited to be picking up wood!  She would say "oh look at this beautiful bit" and he laughed, he said she could get excited over a nice tree stump. haha!

So all this joy over simple things.   Yesterday I started making jam and I cut up enough plums to make a crumble.  I was so happy doing this.  I couldn't have had a better day!   The colour of the plums is beautiful, a deep ruby.

I have days of working through my baskets of plums.   Nanna would have loved it!
Nanna had a way about her. She could get anyone to do anything.  One time the Doctor came to her house as a house call.  While he was there she asked him if he would go up the ladder and clean the kitchen light as she could't manage it and he was tall. And he did.

I am thinking it is a bit wonderful to find simple things so much fun!  By bedtime I am thinking this was a beautiful day.  Being industrious like this just makes my heart happy!

What are the simple things that you really enjoy?   I can think of so many.  Picking up bags of pinecones for the fire,  going to the beach, picking flowers for the house, collecting eggs...
I said recently that I would rather be making jam than on a jet.  Truthfully I would rather be home than most places!  I love a good outing but honestly I am heading off tomorrow down south to see Hilde,  go op shopping with her and to the discount grocery store and fruit and veggie shop.  I am looking forward to this so much you would think I'm going to the French Riviera.    😊

Have a great week!  xxx

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The world within your walls.

Last year I found myself feeling heartbroken. The world around me seemed to have gone mad.

During my life so far Christian persecution was something that happened overseas and we were very lucky to be free here.  But all of that has gradually changed.
I felt like I would like to stop the world and get off if this is how it is going to be.
I also feel like get me out of the city and on to a farm away from some of this!

My heart and peace were really disturbed.  I just never have seen such a fast decline of many things all at once!

I decided to read my Bible and do some study every day.  And from day one I started to feel better.
From that day I saw this has always been the way.  We are not meant to conform or fit into the world. We are meant to have the Word of God as the light for our feet and keep to that.   What the world thinks doesn't matter.

I read and re read Laines Letters.  Years ago she shared a story of how her son was the only young man in the Christian Youth Group who would take a stand against pornography!  And later how he was given a terrible time at his place of work because he was a Christian.  It was awful.  You expect it in the world but you don't expect it at Church!
The other day when I saw a Church near us with a sign out the front openly promoting sin that I finally thought... this is it.  All is lost.

Now I have had time to think about this.  No, it is not new.  It is just more up close and personal that it has ever been in my life.  So that is confronting.  But so far at least we are still free inside our own
homes and no one can take away from you what you believe  in your heart.   Peace in the home and peace in our hearts give us rest.

Even if you don't relate to this you will probably relate to feeling the news is depressing and that you see things in society you find downright scary.  Or that when things are running smoothly at home you feel so much better, happier, calmer.   From any perspective the atmposhere in your home matters a lot.

From all of this I know that keeping our homes a place where we feel safe, peaceful, nurtured and relaxed is so important!  Our home is our sanctuary!  So this year we are going to have a series on keeping your home feeling beautiful, comfy, calm and welcoming.  We need that.  Our families need it too.  

I started by reading my Bible.  I immediately was reminded "do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed"  and plenty on the subject that tells us if we follow along and agree with the world we are on the wrong path!

It is also plenty on coming away and having nothing to do with terrible things.  Instead we are advised "whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippains 4:8-9)

So this is my mission or one of them!   If I keep to thinking of good things, reading encouraging and beautiful books,  leaning new skills and working on something lovely then I feel happy.

I started my daily Bible and study.
I began re reading Laines Letters.

Immediately I felt better.
I read where Laine said "I don't listen to the worlds words much anymore"  and how she found so much peace just trusting the word of God to be true forever.

If you need peace and encouragement just read your Bible every single day!
If you haven't read Laine's Letters they can be found here.  They are the best encouragement and guidance I have ever found!  They also serve as a very easy way to do a Bible study.

I also have found Jenny of Elefantz (see my favourite blogs on the side) is a place of peace an beauty. There is a Facebook group called Gentle Domesticity that is just lovely and fits the bill for the above verse about whatever is beautiful, whatever is lovely. It is so peaceful!  This gives me a daily lift.

Some of the ways we can create a peaceful haven in our homes include:
Deciding what to say yes to and deciding what to say no too!  Being too busy is guaranteed to ruin peace in the home.
Your organisation and decor.  If you feel a mess and overwhelmed you are getting no relaxation at all!
Keeping beautiful things to look at everyday.  This might be flowers,  family photos, beautiful words to think on,  things you love as part of your decor, childrens drawings...

The way your house smells!  haha this sounds bad!  But I like things to smell clean and good!
The way your house sounds.  Happy music while you work.  I mostly hate background noise and never have the TV on in the day.  Give me birds chirping any day!
Interruptions. If I let it I would have to answer the phone during dinner every night to someone trying to sell me something. Just no way!
A routine.  I like a routine of chaos.

The garden and plants.  They are part of my surroundings and give a lot of peace and calm.

We need to work out how to get time for reading good things,  learn new things and create beauty?  I know I am much happier if I have time to work on something creative.   This really increases my contentment!  And something else... I find I am thinking lovely thoughts as I work away.

How can each person have a space of their own that makes them feel nurtured and happy?
How can we carve out for ourselves a quiet space or a craft/sewing/writing space in a full and busy household?
If we love feminine things how can we have these for ourselves in a house full of boys!?
Do you feel you should decorate in a certain way because it is fashionable but your don't even really like it?  Did you inherit or somehow get stuck with decor that bugs you?
Are there small changes you could make that would make a big difference to how you feel at home?
We are going to consider all these things!

I have known for a long time just what I like and some of what I need.  I like light, white, calm.

Quiet, flowers, pantries, baking, the house to smell good.  Clutter or a big mess unsettle me.
I struggle to get the "being home and doing things out of the house" balance right.  If I am out too much everything suffers.   The wheels fall off! haha!

My home is far from perfect.  I get in a mess.  My spare room is terrible at the moment!  The dining room table is my sewing centre right now.
I am really lucky to have a nice house.  But I have made each home nice, ordered, clean and pretty.   I have painted four houses top to bottom.  I have wallpapered, stencilled,  gilded, decoupaged, you name it!   The truth is most of my furniture is really old.  My lounge was Mum and Dad's fifty years ago. My dining table was Nan's.  A lot of my stuff came from the side of the road!   I have a beautiful dressing table found in an old farmhouse.  I paint everything white so completely random things kind of go together!   I have collected many mirrors free and I use them to hide bad bits and reflect the good stuff!   I do all this knowing that my surroundings affect me so much.

We wake up to, walk into, breathe and absorb it all.  So does our family.  And it just seems that as women we have a lot of power to set the scene,  create a home,  set an atmosphere.   The world within our walls is mostly up to us.

What is it that makes you feel nested at home?  How can you make things feel more like "you" as well as a haven for each member of the family?   Maybe I better take some photos of Andy's havens.  I will do that as he has a large music room, an office and a "man shed" haha!  But these are his personal spaces and he is not drowned out by feminine stuff.

For both of us we need a retreat from the world and we are going to have to have less media or a shoe will go through the televisions screen sometime soon!

How do you quieten things down and feel restored when the world is too much?

The next post in this series will be about choosing what to say yes to and what to say no to!  We have to say no sometimes and be good at it.  I used to find it awfully hard to say no!

And so ends week one and me posting everyday!  I hope we got off to a good start for the year.  We have set the scene for several challenges and set up our plans.  Tomorrow I will have a slow day,  plan the new week and keep myself on track!   A little planning on the weekend makes a world of difference!  xxx