What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cold Busters

My childhood home was definitely not energy efficient! It was a small 2-story home with dirt floor walk-out basement. The gas hot water tank was in the basement. My Mom kept bushels of apples, potatoes and home canned foods down in the basement aka dungeon. The main level was heated by 2 natural gas space heaters and I can still remember my Mom's excitement when one of the space heaters was replaced with a new model with a blower. A very steep, narrow staircase led to the upstairs with 2 bedrooms separated by the staircase landing. Cut into the landing there was an opening with a metal grate to let heat up from the main floor. On the narrow end of the landing there was a deep spot where my Mom kept a huge cedar chest to store out of season clothes and behind that was an entrance to one attic. Over top of the stairwell was the entrance to the other attic that we got into by spanning a 2" x 12" plank between the opening and landing then crawling across the stairwell. During the cold winter months the windows were usually covered with beautiful frost created by Jack Frost and large icicles hung from the roof. Many a morning I scorched my backside sitting or leaning on the space heater near the stairwell door!

I honestly think people have become very spoiled with keeping their homes so warm they have forgotten how to dress for winter. When I was growing up September 1 meant no more bare feet and as soon as snow hit boots and winter outdoor clothing were the rule. My Mom also insisted on us wearing under shirts combined with leotards aka tights or one piece thermal underwear aka long johns under our clothes. She also insisted we wore sweaters, slippers and bed socks. At one time nightcaps were always worn but my Mom didn't insist we wear one which was a good thing because I can't stand anything on my head! Now all of that is considered a bit old fashioned! Instead of dressing warmly in the house it is easier to turn the thermostat higher. The problem with turning the thermostat higher is the environmental and financial costs! In my quest to become more eco-friendly I refuse to turn the thermostat any higher than 20ºC (68ºF) during the day and 17ºC (63ºF) at night.

socks and slippersSlippers

I'm a big fan of slippers! I make several pairs of slippers each year using my favourite slipper pattern. Hand knit slippers keep your feet warm and toasty while allowing your feet to breath. They wash beautifully as well. During the winter months I pair the slippers with thick socks usually funky fluffy socks or on really cold days wool socks. You can't beat wool socks for warmth!

When sleeping I still wear bed socks (not pictured) to keep my feet warm. I prefer white, all cotton anklets for bed socks because while providing warmth they allow air circulation. It is important to get good air circulation to your feet to keep the dry and healthy because foot moisture encourages fungal growth.

thermal under garmentsThermals

Thermal knit underwear is an ideal energy saver! They are a favourite for those working outdoors during the cold winter months, outdoorsmen and those enjoying winter sports. At the same time they make a great basis for indoor layering. Despite being light weight they really do help keep you warm. They are also quite inexpensive. I paid $5.99 each for the pants and top. As a child long johns doubled as pajamas on warmer winter nights and were worn under flannel pajamas on the bitter cold winter nights. I love using the two piece thermal knit underwear as pajamas because they are downright comfortable! The thermal top can double as a long sleeve shirt for day use paired with a polar fleece zippered vest (one of my favourite cold busters) or T-shirt then topped with a sweater or polar fleece buttoned shirt. On extremely cold winter days the pants can provide an extra layer that will keep you warm without being seen.

Dressing for winter even when lounging around the house will reward you with lower heating bills. Extra clothes do not need to be restrictive either. The trick really is layering as you can always take off a layer if you become too warm. You will be pleased with the lower heating costs too!

Garden Gnome