Home making

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When we moved into this house back in 1997, along with the furniture, we brought old habits and ways of working from our old home. It didn't take long for me to notice that they didn't work in this new location.  I thought then that a home was made simply by living in it. After we'd been here for a while and I had dramatically changed my work life, I felt a strong urge to change my home life too. When I set out to do that, I had no idea how powerful and life changing the next few years would be. I soon discovered that by being observant and making small but important alterations, I could change a very ordinary house into the home I'd been yearning for all my life. Doing that work changed me too.


The easy part of moving house and creating a new home is bringing in furniture, painting walls, sewing curtains and filling cupboards. But if you do all that without giving much thought to the purpose of what you're doing, it doesn't mean much and it ends up feeling a bit like a staged production. You don't really know what's wrong but you know something is. By allowing things to settle in place and then modifying it slowly to better suit you and your changing circumstances, you'll create a home that supports what you do.  And it feels right.


When I look back on two decades in this house I know that fluffing our nests goes on for a very long time. It's not a single act that we concentrate on when we move in, in fact it can't be done then. We need to live in our homes, live the seasons, know the lay of the land, observe, learn, see the possibilities, seek out opportunities and then form a plan. That plan can start right away but the work to carry it out will last a lifetime. If you can create a home that supports you and becomes a warm and comfortable place, it will be your safe haven and protect you from the harsh realities of modern life.

I'm still modifying and tweaking my home. It changes every few years but not in big leaps and bounds. It's more a series of small adjustments that happen slowly as the months go by and we tick off the years. The changes come about now because we are ageing and our family is growing. Grandchildren change things a lot - both when they're babies but also as they grow. One of the most noticeable changes here has been our garden. Once it was a lush fertile garden full of all the fruits and vegetables we could pack in. It's still going but now we're more selective and there's an equal emphasis on fruit, vegetables and herbs. Many of our herbs died off at the end of summer so I've been reminded of the good sense of growing fresh herbs. Nothing that comes from the supermarket comes close to the taste of home grown. It's a pleasant and familiar part of my day now to go outside and pick the herbs I want to use when I cook our lunch - our main meal of the day. That's a good example of how herbs (and fruit and vegetables) aren't only about the taste, it's more than that. Growing some of our food is part of what we do which helps us live a slower but still active life.



Our new season garden is going in now. Hanno has added compost, blood and bone and manure and he's weeding out the ever present nut grass as he goes.  It's not a one-day job as it once was, but that's okay because we have more time to ponder, plan and work in the garden now.

We've lived here for nearly 20 years and I'm still carrying pots to different places, moving chairs and changing what goes in our cupboards, because we are different people to those who moved in here all those years ago. We need a home to wrap warmly around our elderly shoulders now, not one that suited a middle-aged family with teenagers. And the beauty of the changes already made, and the ones yet to be planned, is that they give us meaningful work that can be done in the time we have each day.


Our home is a constant work in progress. It changes with the seasons and it comforts us as we grow older.  None of this costs much money. We are using what's already here and simply repurposing things as they outgrow one life and slip into a new role. It's all part of a thoughtful lifelong process that helps us live well by using work and what we already have to create and recreate a supportive and peaceful home.  I wonder if you look on your home in the same way.

Happy Easter everyone.  I hope you take time to relax and look for chocolate eggs. 


29 comments

  1. We also moved into our home in 1997 and it has slowly changed over time. At first it was the two of us and we purchased our first dinning table and chairs, lounge suite, coffee table etc. We still use the same dining table and chairs. We did recover the chairs with fabric we had at home and it made them more personal.

    Then our family grew and we are now a family of four. We extended and changed rooms, moved furniture, added things to the walls which have meaning. Jigsaw puzzle I did with Dad, cross stitches, a small window from my husband's house he grew up in which is now a mirror.

    We still make adjustments to suit us now inside and out. It does change and becomes more and more our haven.

    I love it when I hear the kids say 'I love our home.'

    I hope you also have a great weekend Rhonda. Special hugs, enjoy xx.

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  2. Happy Easter to you both.
    Here we are just enjoying the trees breaking into leaf and the birds singing as they warn others off their territory.
    The daffodils are almost over and rose buds are swelling.
    Like you we are modifying our home and lives to make changes that will take us through the next few years. After that there will need to be a constantly evolving process as we grow older. Sue

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  3. Hello Rhonda. I'm not sure why but your post today bought gave me great big watery eyes. I guess because I can relate to so much of it. When we bought our small rundown home 18 years ago now we had sons & stepsons living at home, very little money & we all squeezed in & made the most of it. Now its just the two of us & sometimes grandchildren too. My friend always says to me (about my home & garden) "have you finished yet" ... she doesn't seem to realise, you are never really finished as its constantly evolving. And changing with your needs. Thanks so much for your wonderful posts Rhonda - somedays it feels like you are sitting there chatting away to me. I can always put the kettle on!! Wishing you a lovely Easter. xxx

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  4. We also moved in to our house 20 years ago and it is only in the last few years that I have come to appreciate that the home needs to evolve and adapt to the changes in our lives. Have a great Easter.

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  5. I too loved this post and relate to your words. We moved into our home 30 years ago...can hardly believe it. We had teens then and 3 of our parents were still living. We put in gardens and planted trees and celebrated many happy family occasions. Now we have 7 grandchildren but only 2 of them live locally. We are in our 70's and life has changed in many ways. We still love to garden, just on a smaller scale. We wish you and Hanno and your sweet family a blessed and joyful Easter. Carolyn in Florida

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  6. Good morning Rhonda. I know what you mean about things changing as you get older and our garden reflects that. I hope you have a wonderful birthday tomorrow and a very Happy Easter. I am sure you will be surrounded by your loving family. Big hugs.

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  7. Hi Rhonda, I know what you mean and I think it is lovely to have the time now to change with our homes as we grow older. Love your post. Happy Easter to you both. Warm wishes, Pauline

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  8. It took me a long time to get this, but now I do. I used to move into a new place and immediately try and make it "instant home." You are right; it does not happen that way, you must spend at least a year looking at sun angles, finding out where warm and cool spots are in the house and garden, and seeing how things grow.

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    1. HotFlashHomestead, you took the words out of my mouth. Early in our marriage I thought I had to work fast to make each new place feel like a home. Now, many years later, I realize I never felt connected to the items I bought as "quick fixes," (and I ended up getting rid of those, what a waste!).

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  9. Good morning Rhonda. We moved into our home in 1995. It was a fairly quick decision on this particular one as hubby was finishing his job in banking and we no longer had a banker home. As a family with 3 young boys and his job, we had moved a few times and fully expected to continue this. New job, boys settling in schools in a new place and a dog meant mum (me) put her foot down. Now with adult sons with their own lives mostly, we still have this house. This house recently became more of our haven as it received a new roof, new paint job, regained its verandah and is solar paneled. Vegie/herb patches are well fenced off otherwise our kelpie dog will continue to mark his territory over everything, after all it is "his" land, lol.
    I love my home, it is my space and my haven. It too will continue to alter with us as we are not at all yet ready to downsize into an apartment style home.
    Love reading your blog Rhonda. Happy Easter to you both.

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  10. Happy Easter, Rhonda, to you and yours. Loved the post today.

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  11. This is a lovely post, Rhonda. I love your outlook on the most important things in life. Just beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing once again.
    Happy Easter to you & yours as well.
    ~Sue

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  12. What a lovely comforting posting Rhonda. Just what I needed. We´ve lived here for 40 years!!. Even recently I gave myself a mental shake since I´m always thinking of new ways to do things and making minor adjustments. It is indeed as you say, a way of accommodating the changes in our lives. So onwards and upwards! Change is good, lol.
    Here in our part of Sweden the sky is as grey as lead and the thermometer is hovering around zero C. Nothing new there for April. A friend a lot further north posted a video on Facebook of strong winds and snow...

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter
    Ramona

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  13. Hello Rhonda, I have seen your blog on some of the other blogs I visit and thought I must come and visit you.

    What a lovely post and one that I can relate to.
    It is a fact that as we grow, as our family grows changes to home life are always being made.
    For me home is certainly where the heart is.

    I will certainly visit you again.

    Happy Easter Wishes

    All the best Jan

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  14. Such a good, meaningful post! Happy Easter to you and all who read here!

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  15. I have read your blog for years but have never commented. This was a lovely post. DH and I also have tried to make our home a place of serenity. Now that we are both old folks, we do indeed want the house to wrap itself around our elderly shoulders.

    I think you have a birthday tomorrow? My darling sister also. She is an authentic old hippie!

    A joyous Easter to you and Hanno.

    Best wishes from Best Bun

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    1. Thank you for making your first comment after reading for so many years. It really makes me happy when that happens. I hope you get your wish for your elderly shoulders.
      Yes, today is my birthday. Hanno and I are closing the gate and intend to have a quiet day together alone. Tomorrow the family will be here for Sunday lunch. Happy birthday to the old hippie too. xx

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  16. Hello Rhonda,

    I recently knocked out a couple of walls to make our tiny living room/kitchen feel more spacious and light. It felt small with little ones, and completely cramped with teenagers! (The three of us still squeeze onto a two seater couch though, and I don't think anyone really minds! )

    I also changed from having the shower over a claw foot bath to a separate shower to accomodate a 6 ft 3 boy who is still growing! This latter improvement wouldn't have happened but when we lost the existing bathroom etc.. in the fire it seemed like a good time to reassess!

    Best wishes for the happiest of birthdays Rhonda.

    Madeleine.x

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  17. Happy birthday Rhonda, I hope you have a lovely day. I am in the midst of some rather substantial 'home making' changes in that I am leaving behind one home of nearly 20 years and beginning the process of settling down here at what was formerly our weekender or as we 'lovingly' referred to it our workender as we would dash here on the weekend to work on the property before returning to our home in the city.

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  18. We moved from our last house 3 1/2 years ago, we had lived there for 25 years. As soon as I walked in this house I knew this was it. Now we are gradually making it ours and enjoying the benefits that a village community bring as well as contributing to that. I was lucky to retire early last year and now don't know how I ever had the time to work. Happy Easter, spring is here!

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  19. Wonderful post Rhonda.

    Happy birthday for this weekend! I hope you have a lovely time. x

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  20. Happy Easter Rhonda. Thx for popping over. We bought our farmhouse in 1998 and it continues to evolve. I loved your post and your wisdom. Been enjoying your blog for a couple months. I think I heard about you thru meet me at Mikes. That Gracie is a cutie.

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  21. Happy Birthday Rhonda. I love the fact that our homes and gardens evolve over time. I love that in my home nothing is perfect, things do not match and it is always a work in progress. I love getting linen that I have not used for ages out and using it. I so relate to what you said about moving pots around the garden....! Thanks for a wonderful post.

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  22. Hello Rhonda and Happy Easter! I enjoyed your post not only for the thoughts but for the "homey" pictures that accompanied them. And that Gracie! Continues to be adorable!

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  23. happy birthday & a happy Easter to you & yours! hope you had a lovely weekend.
    Gracie is growing up big! it's a wonder she can see where she is going, her fringe is so long! too adorable!
    yes, making my house feel like a home is still a work in progress for me, one day it will all just fit into place & will have that happy, cosy, warmth a home is renowned for, have lived here for almost 17yrs (Oct).
    great post
    thanx for sharing
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  24. angelika spratlingApril 17, 2017 9:59 pm

    I am the same age as you and would like to thank you Rhonda for inspiring me in my every day life.I hope You and your Family had a nice Easter.
    Angelika

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  25. I've only lived in our house for 6 years (2nd marriage) but I'm already getting a little wistful about the day I will need to move out (aging). I'm 51 and my mum is 86 and still living in her own home..but I worry about what the future looks like. I feel like: "don't get too attached to things" because one day you'll have to let this all go & live in one small room at a senior's home or something. I realize I don't need to fret about this now, but for some reason its been on my mind lately. How do you handle worries about the future?

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    1. Just enjoy it. Your mother is a wonderful role model for you. She's still living in her home and she's 35 years older than you. Take your lead from her and stop worrying that you'll have to move out. Attach yourself to everything. It's you home and you should love it. I'm not a worrier. I live each day as it comes. Some are better than others but I know that no amount of worry will stop what will happen.

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  26. We want to stay in our home until we need to go to the retirement home. We are in our 50s now so our house is nearly paid off and we are working at future proofing it so we can stay here until we cant anymore. I love my home and what you say resonates with me. Fluffing my nest makes me feel warm and cosy. Blessings , Juanita.

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