Between some paying work and a long-awaited week out of town visiting old friends for Thanksgiving, I've neglected this blog! Now I'm back in town and it's gotten actually cold here in Philadelphia. So here's a list of 3 old-timey tricks for beating the cold around the home.
1. Draft dodgers. I don't mean guys who skip signing up with Selective Service. I mean an upholstered roll that you lay at the bottom of a door or window to block cold drafts. You can buy them, or make your own -- but I'm cheap, so I simply roll up an old towel, sheet, or blanket and place it neatly to cover the gap between door and floor. Though I have to re-fold them every couple of days, it still beats hauling out the sewing machine or buying something new.
2. Nightcap. Not a bedtime cocktail, but a literal nightcap: a loose-fitting knit hat or watch cap to keep your head warm while you're sleeping. Seriously, just as if it's Christmas Eve. This is a practice I picked up from going on cold-weather camping trips. No matter how snug the tent or how low-temperature rated the sleeping bag, it's easier to stay warm with a hat. In the house in winter, I've found that I can comfortably shave a good five degrees off my thermostat (and a lot of dollars off my heating bills) if I wear a knit hat while I'm sleeping, or even when I'm sitting at my desk working at home.
3. Heating pad. Electric blankets make me nervous, but I do love an electric heating pad on my lap for that extra "oomph" I seem to always need when I'm curled up on the sofa with a book. And like with a nightcap, I can keep the thermostat turned down and save dollars while I burn a few pennies in electricity.
So, three tips that seem a little old-fashioned to me, but which make the homestead a little more pleasant when the weather turns cold. Later this week: care and feeding of down comforters!