Crafts to cut down on heating bills! - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-10-2005, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was a thread a month or so ago on TAO about saving money on heating in the winter. I thought a sister thread here on crafts could be fun!

What are you crafting to cut down on your heating bills this winter?

One of the suggestions was to make insulated covers for the windows. Window quilts or window blankets or something like that. You can buy special insulated fabric but I think someone said they used fleece for about half the price. And other people said they just put blankets over the windows. Anyone here done any of this? How do they connect to the window?

Someone said they were making slippers for the family. How do you do that? My grandma used to make crochet slippers but we have hard wood floors so we'd be skating everywhere :LOL

What about those long things that you put at the bottom of the door to block drafts? What *are* they called? I've seen ones shaped like dachsunds :LOL They seem easy enough.

Please add your suggestions and tell us what you're doing to save money
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Old 10-10-2005, 05:50 PM
 
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I want to make those door/draft blockers for xmas gifts. Usually they're kind of hokey with chickens or something on them (I don't dare try to make anything shaped, I can't sew that well), but I thought I could make some out of velvet or some other fancy fabric. I figure the remnant bin at the fabric store would be the best place to find good upholstery fabric to use.

I wonder what the best insulating bean would be to fill them with?
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Old 10-10-2005, 06:16 PM
 
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I'm making window quilts for our home this winter. You don't have to use anything fancy, just what you have laying around. I'm not even buying batting for the insulation part, I'm using old wool blankets cut to size. More info here.

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Old 10-10-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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Cool thread...:

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Old 10-10-2005, 07:15 PM
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I have a boatload of fleece - I am going to do windoow coverings from that, and a roll for the bottom of the door to outside. Beyond that, well, we have warm blankets, and such, so we will probably bundle up.

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Old 10-11-2005, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to make the window coverings but it's so intimidating just because we have so many windows in this house! Most of the house just has a window or two in each room but the back room is an addition from the 70's and it has three large walls of windows Any tips on how to decide which windows are most important since I *know* I won't be able to make even a fraction of what I need? Maybe I should start with the bedrooms to keep us warm at night?

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I wonder what the best insulating bean would be to fill them with?
I did some googling and it seems most people recommend sand or cat litter (!!!). I'd worry about the cat litter getting wet though. One site said beans or corn would be ok unless you have a pest problem. We have mice in our basement so I'm probably going to go with sand

So anyone have ideas for making slippers that don't slip? One year I made the kids socks and put 3-D fabric paint on the bottom to give it a tread but it still wasn't as non-slip as I'd like. Everytime I buy them slippers they don't get worn. I think a sock thing would be our best bet. Maybe sewing something on the bottom?
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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SWEEEEEEET!

Love the thread!!

I do not have any input, but I am excited to get ideas .. thanks
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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I am planning to make draft stoppers for under our doors like the ones they have at Plow & Hearth - I figure a stuffed roll for either side of the door, with fabric underneath shouldn't be too difficult. I really like this style because it won't get knocked away from the door.

There is a restaurant near us that, in winter, puts up a lovely velvet curtain on a half-moon shaped rod inside their doors so drafts don't come into the dining area every time someone enters or exits. I'm thinking about doing that, too. I may do it with copper pipe and standard elbows (so it's square) affixed to the ceiling with hooks. That way, any rogue drafts not caught by the under-the-door thingies (I believe that IS the technical term) will be deadened by the drape. In summer, I'll just take it down and leave the eye hooks.

I'm also planning to line the curtains I have in the living room (from Ikea, canvas, tab-backed, plain jane affairs) with either another layer of canvas or some of the insulating lining. I may also make roman shades that span the entire window (from the outer edge of the moudling on either side) out of a thicker material so we can block drafts. I'll have to check prices on materials before i know what my game plan is.

When we bought our house, the front rooms (foyer, parlor) had doors that sectioned them off from the rear rooms (kitchen, dining room), presumably to keep the heat from the wood stove in the front of the house and going up the stairs in the foyer. I think thick curtains would be a lovely way to "close off" occasional use rooms like that. Better, I'm sure, than the plastic accordian door I ripped out of the dining room/foyer doorway. Blech!
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Old 10-11-2005, 07:36 AM
 
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Not sure about a technical term but our family calles them draft sausages. The ones my mum made she just stuffed with cut up fabric scraps, it seems heavy enought to stay in place.
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:46 AM
 
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I didn't mean to imply that they would be blown askew or anything. In my house, the door would be opened and the thing wouldn't be replaced, the boys would run off with it, or the dog would nudge it aside with her nose to sniff under the door - things like that. We're not so much on the multi-step process thing (like, if anyone gets a drink, I can guarantee the cabinet door where the glasses live will still be open when I go into the kitchen.) I just like to make things as simple as possible, operationally speaking. (I think they're really often called draft dodgers, or pillows... I was just making fun of my apparent lack of terminology)

I've made the pillow types before and stuffed them with cedar shavings. That makes for a lovely smell, if you lke cedar.

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So anyone have ideas for making slippers that don't slip? One year I made the kids socks and put 3-D fabric paint on the bottom to give it a tread but it still wasn't as non-slip as I'd like. Everytime I buy them slippers they don't get worn. I think a sock thing would be our best bet. Maybe sewing something on the bottom?
There are always leather bottoms that come with little punched out holes along the edges. I know you can get them online, not sure about where to look IRL. Thanks for mentioning about the fabric paint. I was thinking of doing that, but I think I'll go in a different direction now.
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Old 10-11-2005, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Goodeats, I know plenty of people have used the fabric paint with good results so maybe my expectations are too high :LOL Just, like I said, we have a lot of hard wood floors and stairs. Even so they'd be ok for adults but my kids run around the house a lot and my son, uh, falls a lot (gets his coordination from my side of the family, poor guy :LOL). If your kids don't run full tilt around the house daily or don't fall often, or you have carpet, it will be fine

I'll look for those leather bottoms! That would be great.

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I'm also planning to line the curtains I have in the living room (from Ikea, canvas, tab-backed, plain jane affairs) with either another layer of canvas or some of the insulating lining.
I never thought of that! I have that same kind of curtain in the back room. Maybe I can do that. Hmmm, that will be a lot of fabric though. That's the room with the wall of windows and it comes to 14 of those tab curtains. I'll have to see what I have in my stash
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Old 10-11-2005, 09:22 PM
 
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I saw pieces of leather for sale at Michael's Crafts. You can cut to shape and either buy a hole puncher ($7.99) or use a sharp awl to poke holes. Someone suggested on a different slipper thread looking for old leather items at thrift stores, for a leather source.

As to which windows to prioritize covering, have you noticed a prevaling wind direction in your area? Here (Philadelphia area), it seems the wind comes from the northwest, so the north and west windows are most important. I've seen vinyl type stuff, like you might use for tablecloths, in a variety of designs, at JoAnn's Fabrics for as low as $5.99 a yard. They had plain clear stuff in different thicknesses for less (maybe $2.99), which could be used under fabric. That might be a relatively cheap way to block a lot of drafts, though I understand the preference for more natural materials.

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Old 10-11-2005, 11:17 PM
 
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I made draft dodgers last year out of fleece, stuffed with rice and pillow-stuffing-stuff. I made three little rice bean bags, one for each end and one to put in the middle of the dodger to keep it in place. Seemed to work pretty well!

Once DH gets motivated and finishes doing the last two windows, we'll only have one old window in our house. Figures, it's in the master bedroom, right over our heads when we're sleeping. I'm making a fleece window quilt for it.

I'm going to sew two or three layers of fleece together into a rectangle the size of the window. I'm going to make casings at both ends (top and bottom), so I can hang it up with tension rods right inside the frame.

Will that work?
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kate42
I'm going to sew two or three layers of fleece together into a rectangle the size of the window. I'm going to make casings at both ends (top and bottom), so I can hang it up with tension rods right inside the frame.

Will that work?
I don't know (never done this before) but I'm going to try it your way because it sounds like I can actually *do* that :LOL It sounds easier, faster and cheaper than the other instructions. It should work. Maybe it won't be as complete as putting one over the entire window frame, but I'm intending to keep the regular curtains up anyway so this will just be an extra layer. I guess the only downside is if you have little ones who'd yank them down

Well, fishing around in my stash and whadya know, I found leather, :LOL I swear Jimmy Hoffa is in this house somewhere but no one will ever find him because of the clutter I know dh has a leather punch in the shop somewhere so I'll give that a try. Does anyone have directions? Do I just trace their feet on the leather and then sew it onto a sock bottom? Is that machine washable though?

I haven't noticed a certain direction the wind comes from but that might just be me being unobservant Today I got a piece of tissue and got dd (7) involved in going around the house seeing what windows/doors had drafts. Didn't find a single one, but that may be because she was having so much fun she was running from window to window giving it no time to blow :LOL I've decided I'm just going to do the bedrooms first. We can bundle up during the day but at night, no matter how much we bundle my nose freezes off and I start sneezing and I end up turning up the heat.

Anyone started any of this?

Anyone have any other suggestions?
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, forgot, last year I made a fleece cover for the A/C. We have a built in window unit thing. I mean, it's not in a window, but a hole in the wall for the A/C (I don't know what you call it, but it's a window unit that never comes out of the wall). Last year I noticed a breeze coming through it so I made a cover out of old fleece scraps for it. That's long gone (probably used it to make doll clothes :LOL) so this year I'm going to make a real one, complete with elastic to hold it on. Of course, dh also points out we might not even get the draft in the first place if we correctly bundled up the outside of the A/C like we're supposed to . . . . . and have never done : So we'll do that this year too.
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Old 10-13-2005, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
Goodeats, I know plenty of people have used the fabric paint with good results so maybe my expectations are too high :LOL Just, like I said, we have a lot of hard wood floors and stairs. Even so they'd be ok for adults but my kids run around the house a lot and my son, uh, falls a lot (gets his coordination from my side of the family, poor guy :LOL). If your kids don't run full tilt around the house daily or don't fall often, or you have carpet, it will be fine
We have hardwood (okay, it's actually pine - the 130 some-odd year old floors that came with the house) and a single area rug in the foyer and three little ones who are like lunatics on speed. I think I'll just skip the fabric paint thing - my standards are pretty high in the no-slip arena and I don't see any great leaps being made in the coordination department. Great leaps from chair to couch, yes.

I don't know how you've got your curtains hung, but I'm thinking something in the genre of a window quilt (I'm thinking muslin with cotton batting and ribbon ties to hold it rolled up when we need some natural light) may work better for us. Our curtains are by no means flush with the moulding. The rod holder bracket things (I really must expand my vocabulary in the decor area) stand out about 3" from the wall. In my brainstorming, I came up with just doing the tie-up rolled quilt-shades and putting grommets in one side so I can just hang them from hooks installed at the top of the window. Then I can just leave the hooks in place (where they'll be covered by the curtains) for laundering or summer storage.

Joann has 'Warm & Natural' cotton batting on sale (40% off) through Saturday and, if you homeschool and don't already have one, you can get a teacher's discount card at the store. It comes with a 20% off your first purchase coupon, good for the first 2 weeks after they issue the card. So you can get the batting pretty darn cheap (like, $4 per yard of really wide - 108", I think- batting).
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Old 10-13-2005, 07:05 PM
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You could try hot glue for the tread on slippers....it sticks a bit better and is pretty sticky.... might work.

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Old 10-13-2005, 11:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AdinaL
You could try hot glue for the tread on slippers....it sticks a bit better and is pretty sticky.... might work.
Now thats an idea that sounds good... Im gonna try that one with my 11 mo olds socks.. :LOL
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Old 10-15-2005, 03:53 PM
 
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Hi everyone! I'm new here, but I saw somewhere else on the boards instructions for making insulated window quilts, and the idea I took from there was to put a mylar blanket inside the quilt as a water barrier (to keep moisture from condensing on the window). It also, of course, works well as an insular layer. I bought two mylar blankets for $2 each and used one in a quilt for my biggest window (72x72") and it works well. I attached it to the window with a strip of adhesive velcro attached to the window frame, and a matching strip of sew-on velcro attached to the quilt.

I can't wait to try some of these other ideas!

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Old 10-17-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Another thought on the no slip issue.....the fabric paint I'm thinking of comes in squeeze tubes, there used to be 2 varieties SLICK and PUFFY. The puffy one has to dry then be ironed to puff up, but its a textured surface not shiny like the slick one. These used to be a Tulip product when I worked at craft store yrs/eons ago.

I'll have to look into those. hth
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Old 10-17-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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I want to try to make some kind of window covering, but dh thought it'd be better to have something on the outside of the window casing, to more effectively cover the window. Will post, if I manage to make something, and share what I end up doing.
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Old 10-25-2005, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone done anything yet? I keep saying I will : I think, realistically, it won't happen til after Halloween. We just have so much going on lately, but after all the Halloween activities are over it will calm down a bit.
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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I'm making a draft stopper tonight after DD goes to bed. We have an outside door that I can (no joke) see daylight around. I got the sides & top sealed off this afternoon, all thats left is the bottom. Then I'm going to measure the windows we're not replacing for quilts. Probably end up doing the others too, but they'll be better windows soon so not so vital.

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Old 11-01-2006, 11:37 PM
 
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I saw window quilts at plow and hearth but i am not a quilter, so I won't even attempt to make them but I sure think they are pretty. I wonder if I could find some quilts in coordinating colors for the windows?

I am crafty in many ways but not a quilter. I am going to make a door stopper thing.

and I am asking my grandma to make me some slippers!

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Old 11-01-2006, 11:47 PM
 
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My "quilts" won't actually be quilted, or pieced. Just padded curtains, probably.

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Old 11-02-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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I don't know (never done this before) but I'm going to try it your way because it sounds like I can actually *do* that :LOL It sounds easier, faster and cheaper than the other instructions. It should work. Maybe it won't be as complete as putting one over the entire window frame, but I'm intending to keep the regular curtains up anyway so this will just be an extra layer. I guess the only downside is if you have little ones who'd yank them down

Well, fishing around in my stash and whadya know, I found leather, :LOL I swear Jimmy Hoffa is in this house somewhere but no one will ever find him because of the clutter I know dh has a leather punch in the shop somewhere so I'll give that a try. Does anyone have directions? Do I just trace their feet on the leather and then sew it onto a sock bottom? Is that machine washable though?

I haven't noticed a certain direction the wind comes from but that might just be me being unobservant Today I got a piece of tissue and got dd (7) involved in going around the house seeing what windows/doors had drafts. Didn't find a single one, but that may be because she was having so much fun she was running from window to window giving it no time to blow :LOL I've decided I'm just going to do the bedrooms first. We can bundle up during the day but at night, no matter how much we bundle my nose freezes off and I start sneezing and I end up turning up the heat.

Anyone started any of this?

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Well, my lazy solution has been to nail fleece blankets to the window frames : and then hang curtains from rods over that. It ain't pretty, but it works. We bought a couple sets of insulated curtains and, combined with the fleece, the rooms with those windows stay really warm.

I can't sew worth a whit so I can't do that "pocket" thingie at the top of a curtain to slide a rod in, BUT, I am wondering if maybe instead of my ugly, lazy solution you could poke holes in fleece (or heavier wool?) and use those grommet thingies, big enough so you could hang them from a rod? I wish I could explain it better... it's clear as a bell in my head.
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Old 11-03-2006, 02:22 AM
 
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Fleece won't unravel, so you could cut slits for the curtain rod and just weave the rod through - I know exactly what you're talking about.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:39 AM
 
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This thread is really cool! Hanging blankets over windows used to be a "cheap, poor" thing as far as I've ever known. Now it's "cost-effective and insulating". I think that's fantastic!! lol

I like the idea of the quilts, but would probably find fleece an easier thing to put up. Still, it is a smart thing to do and hopefully I will do it instead of simply "think" about it, lol.

Here's a pattern for fleece socks (can be slippers) that I came across. It may have been here, not sure...still, it's worth a repeat: http://www.hancockfabrics.com/jump.j...emType=CONTENT .
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:23 PM
 
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I made panels, cut from foamcore board then padded with batting and coverd with a pretty fabric, to go over the accorian things to the side of the AC in the window. I cut them so they completely cover all the hardware too. They cut noise aswell as insulating and looking nice.

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Old 11-04-2006, 06:36 AM
 
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My draft stopper is finished. made from PUL scraps. Stuffed with Swheat kitty litter. I made one with a bolster (?) for either side of the door, but it doesn't work that way for that door, so they're just stacked one on top of the other on the inside of the door.

Seems to be working. The furnace is turning on way less frequently tonight. That door is 2 feet away from the thermostat, so there was a huge effect, I'm sure. Yay!

I also went to the fabric store today. Project for tomorrow (maybe Sunday) is to get at least 3 window blankets done. The ones for the master bedroom (since that's where all of us sleep), I'm doing 2 layers of fleece with a layer of blackout fabric in between. After those three come the 3 drafty windows in the addition.

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