Friday, 12 October 2012

Don't fear the winter - Keep warm for less

I knitted this poncho last year. There are many simple, knitting patterns for ponchos, capes and basic shawls to keep you warm at home.

One problem home-makers face is keeping the home and family comfortably warm now that fuel bills have risen so high. But there are many interesting ways in which you can make a difference. As always, your personal outlook on things will be very influential on how the rest of the family respond - a cheerful, can-do attitude will help them to feel secure and content even in these economic challenges. No amount of money can create this security especially for children, it is something they 'catch' from a resourceful and upbeat home-maker. I think husbands will benefit too as they appreciate your positive outlook and aren't infected by unnecessary fear.

Knitting in the evenings is a relaxing and productive pastime . I personally cannot knit while watching television so I don't feel tempted to listen to unhelpful news programmes, which is useful. Large pieces of knitting can keep your knees warm as you click away, or you can tuck a blanket over your legs. We have a large old woollen blanket which we keep beside the sofa in the autumn/winter for convenience. This is another very effective way of keeping warm. When I was a little girl, I have happy memories of lap blankets and ladies knitting socks and jumpers. It was what people did.

 Here I have threaded curtain wire over an old fleecy blanket. We hang it behind the curtains in the evenings

Closing the curtains at dusk, helps to keep in the heat that the day has produced. Look around the house or the charity/thrift shops for fleecy blankets. Very often they will have a folded over edge at one end through which you can slide through a curtain wire. Just put up a small eye on each side of the window. you can see in the picture that we didn't even need to put up 'eyes' as the wire hooks conveniently onto a screw that juts out of the main curtain rail each side.

In the daytime, we take down one side and hook them both behind the curtain on one side of the window. It is completely hidden behind the curtain

Another idea we use that helps to avoid putting on the heating, is to make up a Thermos flask of hot tea, coffee or whatever hot drink you prefer. If you make this up in the morning, you can take small drink breaks during the day. I am always surprised at how quick and effective it is in warming up the body - and very pleasant too. Eating food or drinking hot liquids are warming generally, but some foods are better than others for this. Here in the UK, we often tend towards comforting meals like 'stew and dumplings' Dumplings are made with suet and flour and water, and are them simmered on the top of the stew for the last 20 minutes or so of cooking. If anyone would like me to post a recipe, I would be happy to.

I have found from personal experience that wearing longer skirts, with a warm petticoat underneath helps to trap the warmth around your legs. Strange though it may seem, jeans feel colder. On very cold days I can wear 120 denier tights, socks AND leg-warmers to keep me warm - and nobody can see them!

Of course, keeping moving is useful too. Not lingering on the computer, but moving around the house, washing up, taking the laundry to the machine, cleaning the kitchen and so on, all warm you up - you don't necessarily have to rush around or perform aerobics . Family games, a little gardening, these are enjoyable memory-creating activities which will make you warm, and help you forget all about putting on, or turning up the heating.

I was reminded while writing this of the Proberbs 31 woman in the Bible. She was 'Not afraid of the winter',She is busy, productive and plans ahead The home-maker who plans ahead and has a cheerful heart, need not be afraid either

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.     She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates

Proverbs 31:10-31 

Summary of ideas:

Knit warm clothes such as ponchos, shawls and jumpers to wear at home (Sweaters)
Use fleeces behind the curtains in the evenings
Make a flask of hot beverage to drink through the day
Keep a warm blanket beside the sofa for the family to snuggle under
Warming, comforting meal
Keep busy around the home or wrap up and do something outside like gardening
Don't be afraid, set an optimistic example to the family.
Wear longer length skirts, petticoats underneath
Spread your warmth around the home

I'm sure there are many more great ideas out there, please leave yours.


  1. thank you for this post-our furnace broke and we will not have heat in our log cabin here in Kansas. We have a couple of space heaters and a large stone fireplace-so we should be cozy.:) My attitude will be the magor hurdle to cross.I enjoy your posts. thank you

  2. I'm glad you enjoy the posts Becky. Thank you. I must say that I have a very romantic idea of log-cabins, especially like yours with a large stone fireplace - we don't have many here in England! I'm sorry that your furnace broke though. I often think of the old days here, when we lived in draughty houses with ineffective coal fires. None of the bedrooms had a fire, just the sitting-room. The funny thing is that I never remember feeling cold. Many people I've talked to don't have memories of being cold either. It was just accepted as normal, anyway, we children were always running around and loved to be outside.

  3. Thank you for sharing your wisdom on not only surviving cold weather but thriving! We will be spending our first winter in an old fifth wheel trailer in the wundswept midwestern USA.....I needed the encouragement. Blessings to you, and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  4. How important it is to encourage and be encouraged. Thank you for your post. I was told once that insulating the floor of trailers could make a difference to the warmth. Some people have good underlay beneath the carpeting or whatever, but if not, layers of newspaper or other insulating material underneath can help keep the warmth in.

  5. Thank you for that tip! We plan to put skirting around the base to help keep pipes from freezing, but I hadnt thought of adding more insulation. Even cardboard boxes laid out flat would help. I love your fleecy blanket window covers too. I think I will put one up at the door, as it opens up directly to the outside. And I kove your knitted poncho. What a great design, it keeps neck and shoulders toasty but leaves arms free to work. I need to get busy on one. Again, many thanks. Love your blog!

    1. Now that is a good idea - putting up a fleecy blanket at the door as well as in the windows. I'm glad you will be making a poncho. It's quite true, it keeps neck and shoulders toasty but your arms are free to work.

      Thank you

  6. Great thoughts here, keep up the great work!

    Many blessings from A Wise Woman Builds Her Home...

  7. Thank you for dropping by Mrs. Fuentes. I really enjoy reading your own excellent blog too

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  11. What an excellent idea to create another layer with the fleece. I lined my curtains with the fleece and create a very heavy curtain for the winter months. But it does not let in as much light :(...but having the layer free from the panel is truly ingenious. What a blessing to have found your space. Merry Christmas! maria b.

  12. Thank you Maria. I have found your lovely space too and I'm following you. Merry Christmas x

  13. Is that your own PONCHO pattern? If it is. will you share it? Or could you tell us where you fund the pattern? thanks.

    1. No problem. It is not my pattern and I got it from the UK, but I have just found it on the website

      Hope this helps