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View Full Version : Cold Weather Coziness -- Help me create it!



Bjorn
29 Aug 2015, 13:02
Hey there guys, I know that a lot of you here are incredibly crafty and clever and keep marvelous homes, so I'm coming to you for this.

Question #1: I need some ideas about how to keep an older-style, hardwood floor house nice and warm and inviting without breaking the budget, or cranking the heat up to replicate life on the equator. The landlords are very particular about the house so those "plastic stuff over the windows to keep the draft out" are not an option for us.

I already have plans to get the fella some nice cozy slippers so that his tootsies aren't so cold, and I already have a pair, and we've got some of those door-draft-stopper-cushion things (here's a photo since a picture is worth a thousand of my babbling words: http://totallystitchin.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/DoorDrafter_150.jpg), but I feel like that's not going to make the place warm enough.

I considered putting blankets over the windows, or cardboard, or styrofoam, but we need the sunlight in there too because otherwise the house becomes DARK LIKE MY SOUL. Gotta let in the rays, plus the sun will help heat the place too, so is there a way around this? I've never lived in an old house before and want to respect it as much as possible while still having it toasty and cozy for da love-bjorns.


Question # 2: Aside from a tree, twinkle lights, and mistletoe, does anyone have any clever ideas for harvest/winter/Yuletide cheer? The fella HATES winter and I want to make the house as warm and cozy and inviting as humanly possible so that he can forget that he's miserable, hah.

It would be especially nice to have ideas as to how to keep the place festive when we take the tree down, because there's still a whole lotta winter left after 12/25!

Willow
29 Aug 2015, 21:01
My go-to comforts for warmth and coziness tend to be fuzzy socks and pjs, good quality (i.e. warm and fuzzy and often double-layered) blankets, and a couple pillows for the furniture (the ones I like are about 3x the size of normal throw pillows, but they don't cost much more if you get the basic ones from a craft store and just makeshift your own coverings).

Floor rugs, albeit pricy, are a good way to keep the heat in a room and keep the cold off your toes.

If you have a desktop computer, consider putting it in the room you'll be spending the most time in. Both of our pc's are in the same room (the farthest room from the furnace) because this is where the hedgehog cage is and he needs to be kept at around 75 degrees year round. We've never had an issue keeping this room warm with one or both computers running.

Also, warm drinks! Particularly ones involving caffeine, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, or a combination thereof (or vitamin W, particularly mulled).


In a nutshell: fabric things, electronic things, drinks, and... I had a fourth but I forgot it. -.- This has happened twice today!

As a little side note, and you may not encounter this, if you find that your hands get really cold and you don't have the luxury of wrapping them up in a blanket, I've found that cutting the very tips off fuzzy gloves (http://www.signaturescatalog.com/product/clothing+%26+accessories/accessories/fuzzystretchglovessetof4.do) takes a lot of the edge off.

kalynraye
29 Aug 2015, 22:16
I agree with the rugs and the throw blankets 100%. KP likes it cold year around so staying warm is kind of a big deal for me. Also are you using all the rooms in the house? If you have rooms that aren't being used close the vents and keep the door shut, that way you'll have more heat going into the rooms that are being used. Heavy curtains are still a good idea on the windows. Keep them open during the day to let the light in and closed at night to keep the heat in! My other two suggestions would be baking, and a space heater. One small space heater to keep in the main room your in on low just as a little added heat. Baking is another great one because you have the oven going it will heat up the house all on its own plus sweets help with the gloom that is winter.

I will have to think on decorations though. I will say after Yule you can go straight to decorating for Imbolc.

volcaniclastic
01 Sep 2015, 19:30
Cheapo bag of rice, and some old fabric. Sew yourself some hand warmers, magic bag type things, etc! Cheap cheap!

My personal favourite is my electric blanket. I come in from a day playing in -40C weather, and I change into different clothes and climb under the electric blanket until I warm up. It was pretty cheap, too - and doesn't use a TON of electricity.

Thrift store shopping for cozy sweaters.

Grow your hair! I'm quickly learning that my super awesome summer time undercut actually means that now that the temps are cooling down, my neck is cold!

Willow
01 Sep 2015, 19:32
Cheapo bag of rice, and some old fabric. Sew yourself some hand warmers, magic bag type things, etc! Cheap cheap!

Ohh I have these too! They're amazing. Basically it's a small (or whatever size you want) pillow filled with rice that you pop in the microwave for 10-whatever seconds (depending on its size) and it holds warmth for 20 minutes or so. I actually kept a couple in my hedgie's cage during the winter (just in case he wanted to snuggle on something warmer than the blankets).

Hawkfeathers
01 Sep 2015, 20:22
Cooking (or baking, as kalynraye said) is great! In the colder months I make big pots of spaghetti sauce, or pot roast in the crockpot, or my favorite chicken & rice casserole, all of which take a while and smell wonderful. It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to cook a turkey, either - it takes a while in the oven and then you can freeze some, and make soup and other things with some. In winter I leave the oven door open after removing cooked food & shutting it off, to let the heat out (as opposed to summer when I snap it shut fast!) Same with the dishwasher. And I have a tradition of choosing a different Yule /Christmas decoration each year to leave out until the next year.

Bjorn
04 Sep 2015, 04:38
My go-to comforts for warmth and coziness tend to be fuzzy socks and pjs, good quality (i.e. warm and fuzzy and often double-layered) blankets, and a couple pillows for the furniture (the ones I like are about 3x the size of normal throw pillows, but they don't cost much more if you get the basic ones from a craft store and just makeshift your own coverings).

Floor rugs, albeit pricy, are a good way to keep the heat in a room and keep the cold off your toes.

I think I might invest in some rugs, just to keep the place from feeling like a frozen lake beneath our tootsies, hah. And the pillows is a good call too -- I'll definitely add flannel pajamas to my Christmas shopping list! Poor guy has to stay warm! I've also told him that we'll take walks around the neighborhood in the winter once he gets a pair of good boots -- I find that the more I'm out in the cold, the better I am at handling it. When you're walking you usually stay pretty warm so I figure it'll be a good way to acclimate him to the weather here instead of just shutting himself away and wishing the could would stop :3


If you have a desktop computer, consider putting it in the room you'll be spending the most time in. Both of our pc's are in the same room (the farthest room from the furnace) because this is where the hedgehog cage is and he needs to be kept at around 75 degrees year round. We've never had an issue keeping this room warm with one or both computers running.

Unfortunately I've only got a laptop, and it doesn't give off much heat (but again, this is a really great idea that I would never EVER have thought of).


Also, warm drinks! Particularly ones involving caffeine, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, or a combination thereof (or vitamin W, particularly mulled).

YES, YOU ARE SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF MY PEOPLE! I have a crock pot and am geeking the hell out about it, so I'll be making all kinds of wassail and cocoas and ciders to keep everything warm and aromatic (also, if anyone has any good crock pot drink recipes, I would really love to hear them -- and if it derails this thread I will start a new one in PFCookbook)!

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If you have rooms that aren't being used close the vents and keep the door shut, that way you'll have more heat going into the rooms that are being used. Heavy curtains are still a good idea on the windows. Keep them open during the day to let the light in and closed at night to keep the heat in! My other two suggestions would be baking, and a space heater. One small space heater to keep in the main room your in on low just as a little added heat. Baking is another great one because you have the oven going it will heat up the house all on its own plus sweets help with the gloom that is winter.

Using the oven more seems like a really solid plan, and it never occurred to me. This is genius, and I'll be doing more things with the oven. There's all kinds of stuff you can make in there!


I will have to think on decorations though. I will say after Yule you can go straight to decorating for Imbolc.

What types of things do you usually use to decorate for Imbolc? All I know about Imbolc is that it's in February and there's candles, I think... I like candles... :D

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Cheapo bag of rice, and some old fabric. Sew yourself some hand warmers, magic bag type things, etc! Cheap cheap!

This. is. fraggin. brilliant. Pea. <3

Again, something that I never would have thought of in a million years. I can make these without any trouble (and lemme tell you, we've got rice for daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaays).


My personal favourite is my electric blanket. I come in from a day playing in -40C weather, and I change into different clothes and climb under the electric blanket until I warm up. It was pretty cheap, too - and doesn't use a TON of electricity.

Thrift store shopping for cozy sweaters.

I'll definitely have to help beef up the winter-apparel quota in the house. I've basically got 2 sweaters and I don't think he's even got anything long sleeved that isn't a hoodie. Thrift store shopping, here we come!


Grow your hair! I'm quickly learning that my super awesome summer time undercut actually means that now that the temps are cooling down, my neck is cold!

I wish I had a photo, my hair is longer than it's been in ages, and I've just about died with all this weight on the back of my neck/sides of face/top of head/shoulders, but come winter, I'm gonna be the snuggliest beeyotch you ever saw!

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... I make big pots of spaghetti sauce, or pot roast in the crockpot, or my favorite chicken & rice casserole, all of which take a while and smell wonderful... It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to cook a turkey, either - it takes a while in the oven and then you can freeze some, and make soup and other things with some...

If it's not too much trouble, can I have those recipes, please?! Chicken and rice casserole in the crock pot sounds right up my alley, and chicken is so cheap in these parts that if I can make it really well, I think he'll be more inclined to go for that instead of beef, which is pretty much a staple out here.

Also, I'm kind of a doofus, so if you could 'idiot proof' the recipes for me, or act like you're talking to someone who has never cooked before, I'd be much obliged. Bjorn is still learning how to adult. :P


I have a tradition of choosing a different Yule /Christmas decoration each year to leave out until the next year.

I like the sound of this tradition, can you give me some examples of things you have left up in the past?

Munin-Hugin
04 Sep 2015, 05:12
What I've done, that works all year round, is I've put up larger thermal curtains between each doorway from room to room, using tension rods so that I can slide them open or closed. In the summer, it allows me to only use air conditioning in the rooms I'm active in while not worrying about the rest of the house, and in the winter it does the same for the heat. I also have a little electric heater that looks like a fireplace that I can move from room to room with me and don't underestimate the amount of heat put off by a dozen or so candles.

Hawkfeathers
04 Sep 2015, 06:09
If it's not too much trouble, can I have those recipes, please?! Chicken and rice casserole in the crock pot sounds right up my alley, and chicken is so cheap in these parts that if I can make it really well, I think he'll be more inclined to go for that instead of beef, which is pretty much a staple out here.

Also, I'm kind of a doofus, so if you could 'idiot proof' the recipes for me, or act like you're talking to someone who has never cooked before, I'd be much obliged. Bjorn is still learning how to adult. :P




This one's in the oven, not a crockpot. The 5 quart covered casserole dish I use is a basic Corningware one from the 70's.

Chicken & Rice Pilaf

1 cup uncooked River brand brown rice (any good quality brand is OK)
envelope onion soup mix
1 can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup
1 - 1 cup boiled water
cup Holland House cooking sherry
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
cup chopped or sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
butter, salt, pepper, paprika
1 pkg. Chicken (approx. 4 – 6 pieces)

In 5 quart casserole, combine all except chicken, butter, & seasonings. Place chicken on top of rice mixture, place a pat of butter on each piece of chicken, sprinkle salt, pepper, & paprika on top of chicken, cover, bake at 375 for 1 hours.

Note: Don’t use skinless chicken – it will dry out too much. I ususally use 4 thighs, or thighs & drums.

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I like the sound of this tradition, can you give me some examples of things you have left up in the past?

This started when I was little - I loved a little snowman decoration we had and asked to keep it in my room until the next year. Now I just pick something small and not too obvious, like an ornament with an animal on it, whatever speaks to me as I'm putting the stuff away. Most of my tree ornaments have birds or animals. I have a racehorse one that's always out on my desk, and I just put it on the tree for those few weeks a year.

callmeclemens
04 Sep 2015, 09:09
I love ll these suggestions. My home has 75 year old radiators heated by oil, so to keep costs down we basically keep the radiators at 55-60 to keep the pipes from freezing and get creative. We live in an old farm house that's just so drafty. At night we hang quilts over the windows, we have a small ceramic space heater we use here and there. Lots of blankets and staying close. the cats and dog pile on to, and it makes for a nice warm pile up.

If we're going to be home all day we'll cook something that will cook for a while, or put a soup on the stove top.

As for bringing in seasonal things to add to the atmosphere, its a perfect time of year to collect Pine branches, pinecones, and late summer flowers. Put these things in baskets around the house and not only does it add a rustic look, but it smells like heaven.

Willow
04 Sep 2015, 10:49
I actually have a stash of hot drinks to be made via slow-cooker, I'll have to dig those out and get back to you! :)

faye_cat
04 Sep 2015, 10:59
I have an addiction to fleece blankets. I keep two folded up on each couch, and sometimes there's one hanging from my office chair (that's a whole whopping 5 feet away).

If an electric blanket is hard to find or too expensive, a lot of places also offer an electric sheet. We bought one this past winter and wow. My thing about the blanket is that I tend to wrap my blanket around me, or use it as body support. The electric sheet didn't move though, and it really helped my back and hip that laid on it.

Bjorn
04 Sep 2015, 18:43
I actually have a stash of hot drinks to be made via slow-cooker, I'll have to dig those out and get back to you! :)

YES, holy snowman, YES.

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I have an addiction to fleece blankets. I keep two folded up on each couch, and sometimes there's one hanging from my office chair (that's a whole whopping 5 feet away).

If an electric blanket is hard to find or too expensive, a lot of places also offer an electric sheet. We bought one this past winter and wow. My thing about the blanket is that I tend to wrap my blanket around me, or use it as body support. The electric sheet didn't move though, and it really helped my back and hip that laid on it.

You know, fleece blankies are really easy to make too, that's a good plan.

Also, I had no friggin idea that they made electric sheets. I'm definitely going to look into this! Were they difficult to keep clean/can they go in the wash? I have no savvy with electrified fabrics at all.

Rae'ya
04 Sep 2015, 19:58
YES, holy snowman, YES.

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You know, fleece blankies are really easy to make too, that's a good plan.

Also, I had no friggin idea that they made electric sheets. I'm definitely going to look into this! Were they difficult to keep clean/can they go in the wash? I have no savvy with electrified fabrics at all.

In Australia, our 'electric blankets' are an under-blanket that you put between your mattress and your sheet. So you aren't lying directly on it and you don't have to wash it because the regular old sheet is over the top of it.

I'll add to your list too... flannelette sheets! Torey says they're called 'flannel sheets' in the US... but they're the brushed cotton ones that are soft and fuzzy. SO MUCH warmer than regular sheets. I used to hate them as a kid because we had really old ones that the softness had worn out of and that had little cotton balls on them, but a new set is a completely different kettle of fish. They aren't cold when you climb in bed like regular sheets are and they retain your body heat better too, so are nice and snuggly in winter.

faye_cat
04 Sep 2015, 20:01
In Australia, our 'electric blankets' are an under-blanket that you put between your mattress and your sheet. So you aren't lying directly on it and you don't have to wash it because the regular old sheet is over the top of it.
*snip*
Pretty much this. If I thought they were getting "dirty", I would febreze or lysol the electric sheet in the morning, when we stripped the old sheets off, but overall it never really stunk or got dirty, etc, since we change the sheet often enough. I will say that you need to turn in on about an hour before you plan to sleep to give it a chance to warm up, and be sure to cover it with your blanket to maximize effect.

volcaniclastic
05 Sep 2015, 05:55
I'm really curious where you've moved to that has winter. Ibwas under the impression Kansas wasn't that cold.

October
05 Sep 2015, 06:08
My go-to are scented candles (lots and lots of candles) and, yes, food.

I make candles for my shop, so I always have tonnes around, and I cook obsessively in the colder months. Slow cooker stews, stovetop chilis and soups, casseroles in the oven, pasta and pasta bakes. Cakes, pies, cookies, breads, all of it! And wassail, loads of different kinds of hot chocolate, teas, flavoured coffees.

Great, now I've made myself hungry.

I also second the wheat/rice bag. I didn't really get bone cold before I spent last Christmas in Britain, and then I discovered the joys of wheatbags. I even scored a couple pairs of wheatbag slippers. If you're on a tight budget, I have an idea for DIY wheatbag slippers *WARNING: I have not tried this myself, it's just a brain baby I've had*

Get a pair of soft slippers (not the kind with hard or rubber soles) and a pair of those thick winter socks. Make sure you can wear the socks inside the slippers.
Put a couple handfuls of rice or wheat inside the slippers, then stitch the socks inside along the cuffs. Voila!

Throw them in the microwave for a minute or so (but not much longer because fire hazard).

I should note that wheatbag slippers are not fun to walk in, but if you're sitting for a while or wearing them to bed, they are heavenly!

You could even scent the rice with lavender or pine or eucalyptus or whatever essential oils you have lying around.

I prefer woodsy scents in the post-Christmas winter, but spicy orange (sweet orange, clove, and cinnamon) essential oil blends are lovely as well. I prefer peppermint in early December though.

Just some thoughts :-)

Sinned
06 Sep 2015, 10:09
I moved 2 and half hours north last september so to live closer to family and ended up staying in an old draughty farm house. I've always been an autumn/winter lover.. I mean.. layers.. knitwear.. soups.. broths.. stews.. open fires.. mulled wine and cider.. big fluffy socks - and well, so on! What's not to love!

BUT!!

livng in the draughty old farm house over the winter was horrific at times. I can't remember ever being colder for such a long period of time. I found that the best thing when you cant afford to crank the heating or invest in electric blankets was layers, layers, laaayyyyerrrsss! normal socks then big thermal whooly socks, thick boots (if going out), fluffy microwavable slippers (the kinds with the bean/rice soles that are heaven when heated up), thermal leggings, vests, thermal top, sweater, big thick coat, gloves, scarf, beanie. All good stuff.

Rugs are best to stops your feet chilling on cold floorboards. Big thick throws and hotwater bottles are great when snuggled up in bed or relaxing on the sofa - preferably with a big mug of tea or mulled wine *drool* and then fill your diet with stews and soups and broths and basically anything that can sit a few hours in a slow cooker.. the smell of delicious slow cooking goodness alone will warm your soul! I'm a spice lover and I find throwing a bit of spice into slow cooked meals full of meats and mixed beans is a winer.

Best advice once you've got yourself nice and toastie is to ensure you keep all doors and windows (obviously :P ) closed and use your draught excluders (long bean bag things that block door draughts) and think warm thoughts :)

best of luck!

thalassa
06 Sep 2015, 11:16
I'm really curious where you've moved to that has winter. I was under the impression Kansas wasn't that cold.

For you, its probably not that cold :p

Willow
06 Sep 2015, 14:49
YES, holy snowman, YES.


Behold the holy snowman! ... Ok maybe just the recipes. :P

http://www.paganforum.com/showthread.php?10752-Warm-Drinks-Collection-via-Slow-Cooker

Bjorn
08 Sep 2015, 07:22
I'm really curious where you've moved to that has winter. I was under the impression Kansas wasn't that cold.

The midwest gets harsh summers and harsh winters -- we don't have a lot of precipitation, and it's obviously not as cold as the Northwest Territories, but it'll still easily get to 10F and even below down here, and with the biting, wet air it makes for a pretty chilly winter.

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In Australia, our 'electric blankets' are an under-blanket that you put between your mattress and your sheet. So you aren't lying directly on it and you don't have to wash it because the regular old sheet is over the top of it.

I'll add to your list too... flannelette sheets! Torey says they're called 'flannel sheets' in the US... but they're the brushed cotton ones that are soft and fuzzy. SO MUCH warmer than regular sheets. I used to hate them as a kid because we had really old ones that the softness had worn out of and that had little cotton balls on them, but a new set is a completely different kettle of fish. They aren't cold when you climb in bed like regular sheets are and they retain your body heat better too, so are nice and snuggly in winter.

I totally forgot about flannel sheets, I HAVE SOME! They are a godsend (and for an atheist, that is high praise :P)

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Pretty much this. If I thought they were getting "dirty", I would febreze or lysol the electric sheet in the morning, when we stripped the old sheets off, but overall it never really stunk or got dirty, etc, since we change the sheet often enough. I will say that you need to turn in on about an hour before you plan to sleep to give it a chance to warm up, and be sure to cover it with your blanket to maximize effect.

Thanks, I'll definitely look into the electric blanket. I know that they're pretty cheap around these parts and so is Febreeze (you can also make your own Febreeze too!)

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My go-to are scented candles (lots and lots of candles) and, yes, food.

I make candles for my shop, so I always have tonnes around, and I cook obsessively in the colder months. Slow cooker stews, stovetop chilis and soups, casseroles in the oven, pasta and pasta bakes. Cakes, pies, cookies, breads, all of it! And wassail, loads of different kinds of hot chocolate, teas, flavoured coffees.

Great, now I've made myself hungry.

I also second the wheat/rice bag. I didn't really get bone cold before I spent last Christmas in Britain, and then I discovered the joys of wheatbags. I even scored a couple pairs of wheatbag slippers. If you're on a tight budget, I have an idea for DIY wheatbag slippers *WARNING: I have not tried this myself, it's just a brain baby I've had*

Get a pair of soft slippers (not the kind with hard or rubber soles) and a pair of those thick winter socks. Make sure you can wear the socks inside the slippers.
Put a couple handfuls of rice or wheat inside the slippers, then stitch the socks inside along the cuffs. Voila!

Throw them in the microwave for a minute or so (but not much longer because fire hazard).

I should note that wheatbag slippers are not fun to walk in, but if you're sitting for a while or wearing them to bed, they are heavenly!

You could even scent the rice with lavender or pine or eucalyptus or whatever essential oils you have lying around.

I prefer woodsy scents in the post-Christmas winter, but spicy orange (sweet orange, clove, and cinnamon) essential oil blends are lovely as well. I prefer peppermint in early December though.

Just some thoughts :-)

WASSAIL IS MY FAVORITE DRINK. I have an old Austrian recipe from my great-grandma and certainly intend to keep the crock pot full of the warmth!

Slippers, rice bags, candles. Got it! Thanks

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I moved 2 and half hours north last september so to live closer to family and ended up staying in an old draughty farm house. I've always been an autumn/winter lover.. I mean.. layers.. knitwear.. soups.. broths.. stews.. open fires.. mulled wine and cider.. big fluffy socks - and well, so on! What's not to love!

BUT!!

livng in the draughty old farm house over the winter was horrific at times. I can't remember ever being colder for such a long period of time. I found that the best thing when you cant afford to crank the heating or invest in electric blankets was layers, layers, laaayyyyerrrsss! normal socks then big thermal whooly socks, thick boots (if going out), fluffy microwavable slippers (the kinds with the bean/rice soles that are heaven when heated up), thermal leggings, vests, thermal top, sweater, big thick coat, gloves, scarf, beanie. All good stuff.

Rugs are best to stops your feet chilling on cold floorboards. Big thick throws and hotwater bottles are great when snuggled up in bed or relaxing on the sofa - preferably with a big mug of tea or mulled wine *drool* and then fill your diet with stews and soups and broths and basically anything that can sit a few hours in a slow cooker.. the smell of delicious slow cooking goodness alone will warm your soul! I'm a spice lover and I find throwing a bit of spice into slow cooked meals full of meats and mixed beans is a winer.

Best advice once you've got yourself nice and toastie is to ensure you keep all doors and windows (obviously :P ) closed and use your draught excluders (long bean bag things that block door draughts) and think warm thoughts :)

best of luck!

Got any recipes you wanna share? :3