Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time to get ready for Winter!

Whether we like it or not, Winter is on the way here in Seattle, which means cool temperatures and wet conditions.

Some things we are doing to get ready:

Wrapping the Hot Water Tank--even though ours is in an enclosed laundry room, we can still save a little by wrapping it up.

Trading out the summer/winter clothes. Make sure everything is clean before packing it up, and get rid of the stuff that is worn out so you don't have to deal with it again in the spring.

I do a lot of knitting and quilting in the winter(Keeps your lap and legs warm!) so anything that is worn out will get added to the scrap bag. Even stained clothes make great rugs when cut into strips.

I am also making Snuggies for the whole family this year. Yes, they are silly and the commercials for these things are ridiculous but the concept is pretty smart. I have a few old fleece blankets so I plan to make these pretty much for free. The Pattern is very easy too!

We installed a Programmable Thermostat last fall and I dug out the paperwork and re-programmed it 2 degrees cooler than it was last year. We are also putting up Window Quilts this year to cut down on the drafts. We have a 6 room apartment but we only heat the living room and bathroom, so I hang drapes in the doorways to keep the heat where we want it. The other rooms are kept at 55 degrees.

We have hardwood floors, so I am also pulling the rugs out of storage. We only use them in the late fall and winter and they are all washable. When the weather turns nice in the spring, they all get washed, and line dried before returning them to storage. My rugs are nearly all handmade--done in past winters out of scraps and rags--it is amazing how many memories are sewn into these simple floor coverings; cotton onesies that were outgrown and worn out, tee shirts from places and events I attended, my college sweatshirt, the shredded seat covers from my first car--sheesh! One comment I will make about rag rugs made on a loom like many of mine are--skip the crappy cotton warp thread--string technology has come a long way since our ancestors started making rag rugs! I use Nylon Twine for my rugs. This product is meant for salt water fishing net and will last longer than the cloth rags! One $10 roll is enough twine to make a rag rug 4 feet wide and 43 feet long--do not skimp in the basics or you will be sorry!

Check and re-check the Emergency Supplies. I have used up most of the Emergency Food I stored last fall(Rotated to keep it fresh) and now it's time to re-stock. I put 48 meals worth of easy food and 10 gallons of water all in one place with flashlights, candles, matches, and all the other supplies we might need if the power is off for more than a day. I have 2 portable gas stoves that I use for Canning Classes, so I only needed to buy a 4 pack of fuel this year. Note on these types of butane stoves---if you buy one, fire it up when you get home-let it burn for at least 20 minutes and shut it off. Check the fuel can--it should be ice cold. If the can is warm AT ALL--take the stove back and buy a different brand. Keep testing until you find one that keeps the fuel ICE COLD. Many cheap knock-offs are on the market and the results can be devastating when the fuel container overheats.(Graphic Pictures!)

Hot chocolate and Spiced Tea are very popular in our house when the weather is chilly so I make up big batches of homemade mixes to keep these treats easy and frugal.

I will add more tips, for getting ready for Winter, soon!

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