Ways to Keep Warm this Winter

Very few of us can afford to keep our homes warm all year round. We may not find that to be environmentally sustainable or we cannot actually afford to pay our heating bills. I live with someone who will wear shorts in Winter. So I have to keep myself warm and just make sure the house doesn’t get too cold! This article contains affiliate links which might offer me a small payment with no additional cost to yourself.

 

Check your prices

This is important to do as you may be paying more for less.

I am a confident crafter and I am going to show you how to make some simple changes, with big impact on your general cosiness and comfort!

Keep Yourself Warm

Trust me the warmer I am, the happier I am. Working in a cold office all day. Then travelling home on the freezing but rammed train. To then trudge through the winter rain, to a cold house is the worse! It doesn’t matter if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder or if you just hate feeling cold and only seeing limited hours of daylight. Keeping yourself warm is part of staying healthy and happy. So read on for many more ways to keep your spirit up on these dark, cold wintery days.

Heat Packs

The DIY wheat heat pack is an ideal beginners sewing project and can help use up any unwanted scraps of material. The bags work out to be a few pounds each in cost and are very simple for children to follow as well.

You will need:

needle and thread
tape measure
pack of pins for securing the material

  • You could try a beginners  Sewing Kit  like this one.

You will also need wheat or rice.

Start by measuring the material to around 15cm by 30cm, if the scrap of material is under this, just pop less wheat in! This is an ideal beginners project as it does not need to be exact in any way. Once the material is cut fold it in half so that the pattern is facing inwards and the lighter side is therefore outwards. You are ready to start to pin your material in place to hold it ready for sewing. I am choosing to hand sew as a beginner I do not want to use a machine.

warm to the bone
You can personalise this project depending on the material you choose.

Filling the Bag

Once you have sewn the first two sides of the fold, ensure that the final side has a gap big enough for a finger to fit through easily. This makes you ready to turn it inside out, once again as a beginner you must not feel worried about this process and I have a video with tips for you to watch and pause as often as you like.

I have then made a funnel from a piece of card recycled from the outside of a food pack. This makes it free and reusable and very much suitable for beginners who may not want the financial investment at the start.

You can then move on to sewing up the finger hole in the side. This is very much a beginners project or a supervised child’s project and they make great gifts.

Pocket Warmers

Almost as important as the heat packs, these are the same but smaller! You can pop them in the microwave for 30 second blasts until they are the right heat. Then have one in each pocket before heading out to the train each morning. I like to put them in my slippers before I put them on in the evening. Toasty feet are very close to my heart! The pocket warmers are really good for using up old scraps of material, from threadbare bedding to t-shirts which have mysteriously ‘shrunk’.

For a full ‘how to guide’ for warm hands FOLLOW HERE

Both projects are good for warming your bed on cold winter nights.

Have a Brew

In Britain we are obsessed with a good cup of tea, so make one for yourself regularly! Plus, if you are having a cuppa, why not have a
Chocolate Brownie with it? And if you are going to have a chocolate Brownie, why not have a luxury one? I also love warm spice when I feel cold. So I have made my own Pumpkin Spiced Golden Syrup Oatmeal Cookies. The smell alone will make you feel warmer.

Top Tip –

Never cook in an oven with empty shelves, this is expensive and a waste of energy. So for either of these I would pop some potatoes in ready for dinner later on that evening. More cosy cooking actually!

Cover Bare Floors, and Make Your Feet Warm Again!

We have a lovely new home with lots of lovely hardwood floors. But I am a cold blooded person and find this makes me sad! So I have three very easy homemade rug solutions for you. Have a look below and see which suits you best. All of them are priced between cheap or free and they will keep you warm whilst you make them as well! When I say ‘keeping warm on a budget’ that is exactly what I mean.

Peg Loom Rug

What is a peg loom rag rug?

Basically it is a very cheap way of reusing old material. Recycle your shameful old bedding or linen to create this homemade, old fashioned rug. An easy to complete relaxing project for the whole family. It is perfect as you can pick it up and put down completed within a few hours. This is more of an evening project than a weekend one.

For the full How to guide have a look here.
I hope this becomes your new hobby of choice! I think it rocks as you will need very little time to build up the skills. The only problem is you are not really keeping warm when you are making this. Unlike this rug…

Rag Rug

What you will need

This is a very easy to follow guide to transforming a hessian sack to a rag rug. You will also need some old clothes, t-shirts are ideal as they roll back on themselves, but old sheets can be just as good. I use a mixture here and you can too. I have other ways of using up rags for example rustic pom poms or another type of rag rug using the peg loom method.

upcycled or repurposed, t shirt and coffee sack, what could be easier?
All the equipment you will need to get started!

For this you will need to buy a Rug Prodder Toolbut this is a very handy tool to have around for all sorts of crafts. I got my hessian sack form a friend who drinks way too much fresh ground coffee. You can buy hessian or burlap online. Do not go too big too soon as this is a slow craft. I deal for those cold winter nights.

What Design or Pattern to Follow?

The way I approached this was to create my own swirly pattern, you can’t be too worried about perfection in a rag rug and this way I was able to introduce new material as and when needed.

rag rug
The imperfections are what makes this unique to you and your style.

This proves to be the ideal cold evening project as you sit on the sofa watching tv. I find it very relaxing as there is no pattern to follow and progress is relatively slow, so you don’t need to set a timescale on this one.

Here is my online tutorial, very simple to follow and you can pause it when you need to or, alternatively read the below description.

How hard is the rag rug to master?

This is very simple to complete. Once you have a scrap of material, working from the back you create a hole and push the strip through. The prodder is invaluable here and will enable you to work quickly and in comfort. You can use one strip and prod it through until you have used it all. Then move on to the next strip.

I have used coffee sacks so the sides have a natural ‘hem’ but when they do not you have to fold over around an inch of the sack and then it is much harder to make the holes, but still possible. It is tempting to try and sew the edges, but really not required.

a warm rag rug
This will keep you warm under feet once completed and warm whilst you make it!

But what if I want to follow a pattern?

If you wish to produce a neater pattern, you will see from the video another type of rag rug I have produced. For this one I used a pen to draw the outline of my heart shape and then worked from the back to produce this neat shape. I wasn’t too happy with it though as the shape was lost with the scraps of rag being too long. This is something you can just control by using the same method as I have here and cutting to length each time. It is a longer process and uses more material. If you prefer the outcome, why not try it?
All of the rag rugs I have made including the peg loom rag rug are machine washable. This comes in very handy when you think about how much mud seems to come into your home without an invite.

So set yourself the challenge of becoming a crafty upcycling pro! Think zero waste and zero contribution to landfill. Also remember zero cost to you. Trust me you will stay warm whilst this is on your lap.

But what if you want a more fun rug to keep you warm?

This is the perfect family project. The family that keeps warm together stays together!

Pom Pom Rug

This easy to follow tutorial is ideal for the beginner in craft and would make a fun activity for children of all ages.If you chose your wool carefully you can create a whole range of potential gifts for baby showers, wedding and Christmas.

For the full how to have a look here.

This makes a lovely project for yourself and children as the pom poms are an easy craft to master!  You can go crazy when attaching them too. Not only will feet be warm, but you will have the warm glow of satisfaction too.

So get a warm rug on your floors today. You will not regret it. Plus you can be as unique as you like! But the main thing you will be is warm, warm, warm!!

Time to Get Really Warm!

Why not try a workout online? Or an activity with the kids / pets? Or even a snuggle under the blankets on the sofa? Sharing body heat or raising your body temperature is a perfect free way to stay warm. You do not need to pay for fitness classes. Chose an online class on YouTube and enjoy that. Or if you know you need the support of others, sign up to the local classes.

Have You Got a Warm But Empty House?

There are lots of expensive technologies on the market now. If you have the money for an initial investment you could try these. But why not sign up for a free Smart Meter?

Possible Negatives to a Smart Meter

We used to have economy 7 in the UK. This was a system where the electric companies knew the hours we use the least amount of energy and so the charge for what we used then was less. So we all used to wake in the night hearing our washing machines turn on to their pre-set wash. People are concerned now with how the electric companies will use our data. If they will start to differentiate prices based on when we use the most energy. Or if they will know when we are in or out. In reality they know this already. They know we are most likely to switch the oven on in the evening, or the shower in the morning.

In fact it is a government incentive to fit Smart meters and not one which is necessarily of benefit to the energy companies.

So How Can a Smart Meter Help Me Stay Warm?

Put it this way, if you can see where you are spending your money, you can change where you focus that money. Switching on the heating before you get home, will make you feel warmer than coming home to a cold house. Although you may now think you are paying to heat an empty house. What you are really doing is analysing when you heat the house. You are becoming much more informed and as long as you act on that it can save you money. It has also made me more aware of how I use my appliances at home. So I can save more money there as well. Then perhaps use it for more cups of tea and home baked goodies. For more details on the pros and cons of a Smart Meter have a visit to smart energy gb