Getting Our Cosy On.

Please join me in welcoming our newest columnist to Try Handmade, Cara Quinn! She’s going to be writing about frugal living and minimalism as it relates to buying handmade and making it yourself. Check out her first post, and let her know if you have suggestions or requests for future posts. Welcome Cara!

I’m not a fan of cranking up the thermostat in our home (well, truth be told we don’t even have a thermostat) and all throughout winter I was determined to whip up a draught excluder that would plug the huge gap under our front door – where a majority of the heat escapes from.

I’ve been determined to do this for two winters running. When I saw these sausage dog draught excluder’s on Ellie’s Crafts they looked like the perfect addition to our otherwise dog-free home.

On top of draught excluder’s, there are other ways to keep the heating bills down (and Planet Earth happy) and keep warm – after all, before we know it, we’ll be springing into spring. Until then, I plan on cuddling up close to my baby son (that boy has a freakish, almost superhuman, ability to keep me warm.)

This adorable onesie from Ink & Ivy is made from water-based ink and organic cotton so appeals to my eco-friendly nature. It’s also available in a light red – which I find is gender neutral and could work for two (or more) babies. I’m a huge fan of hand-me-down clothes for little people!

Other tips for staying warm:

Wrap up in a blanket. I have a little fleece blanket on my sofa that I love to be wrapped in. I have two thin blankets and one really thick one. The two thin blankets I can circulate when the weather is sorting itself out for a spring season and the thick blanket is for the hell that was last winter. Or as we called it in these parts: Snowmageddon. By the time summer rolls around, I don’t need blankets or my central heating to keep me warm.

Put on some socks. It’s true about losing body heat through your extremities and covering those tootsies up will keep you cosied up.

Put on a sweater. I know I sound like someone’s Granma when I say that, but the fact is that it remains true. More layers means more body heat is given out – don’t over do the layering when you go out, though, or you’ll be sweating like a turkey the night before Thanksgiving.

Got some sweaters that don’t quite fit any more or have reached their life span? That’s okay, up-cycle them into a nifty (and thrifty!) purse/handbag. Make and Love It tells you how.

If you love this idea, check out some of the other up-cycled ideas on that same blog; pillows and dresses made from sweaters and a cute little beanie hat and skirt, who were in a former life, scarves.

No need to donate (or throw away – but I seriously hope no one is throwing away clothes in this day and age!) winter clothes that have outrun their lifespan; they can come right into spring with you!

  • Handknit Hugs
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • "Brass" Knuckles Wood Teether
  • Crescent Maille
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Photographic Collages by Matthew Parker


  1. Anne says

    Excellant tips Cara. I am always compaining of how cold it is in my house, and, despite the fact that my mother always had chunky draught excluders by the doors, I dont have a single one myself! Isn’t that dreadfull. I will definately be checking some out this week and getting all those draughts plugged :)

  2. Jeannette says

    I am a couple of generations after the “make do & mend” of the Great Depression & WW2 so grew up with a very frugal Mum & Granny who could recycle just about anything.
    No central heating only a coal fire which we all huddled around which heated the hot water too.I could show the greens a thing or two about washing from top to toe(including hair) using one kettle of boiling water & a jug of cold!
    I also have a slinket blanket which is basically a huge cosy floor length fleece with arms which is great for working on the computer in or reading.
    Now that supermarkets are charging for their bags it’s back to my childhood habit of always having a couple of rolled up bags in my handbag for those unexpected shopping trips.
    I don’t have an adorable little(or large either!) man to keep me warm but I do have a bunny which is filled with lavender & can be warmed in the microwave & then cuddled into.
    Sweaters,fleeces are a great way to keep the bodily heat.I know that our Queen-Elizabeth tells visitors to her homes to wrap up warmly as she does not crank up the heat either.
    I love the bag made from a sweater & as a teenager was always finding ways to recycle t-shirts & jeans.It was more from an economic point of view & not from a save the planet view.
    May I also add another keep warm tip especially those with circulatory issues or an ageing one! Wear a hat-not a big fancy one but a little beannie hat or similar.It’s amazing how much heat escapes through your head & a little scarf(I have been known to tuck a t-towel or similar if a scarf is not to hand) will keep the draughts of your neck which sometimes can cause muscular aches & pains.

  3. Elizabeth says

    Loved this post. My mum used to say neccesity is the mother of invention and I can remember, back in the eighties making draught excluders out of old cords stuffed with tights.
    My husband initially mourned the loss of his comfy trousers but came round to my way of thinking when the wind started to whistle outside and we were cosy inside!

    • Emma says

      Yay! A use for my old tights! they are pretty pricy just to chuck out two weeks later when they get bust. I used to cut my old tights in ‘O’s and use them as hair bands ;) after they had been washed of course.. but then u have loads with just one pair..

  4. Jeannette says

    I just remembered that when my youngest charge grew out of his fav t-shirt my friend turned it into a pillow.She stuffed it with cut up tights(panty-hose)as he has asthma so is sensitive to feathers etc.It is bright red with the Eifell Tower on front & was bought by Daddy on a buisness trip.

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