Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Cold weather prepping

My Grandma Mama had a house with walls made from cardboard and newspaper.  Similar to the walls in this photo from the library of congress.

paper walls

Or like this photo also from the library of congress.  Her house’s walls were much nicer.  The walls were perfectly smooth.  She knew how to make good wallpaper paste and was meticulous in her work.

paper wall house


We had a pot belly stove in the center of the house and a wood cook stove in the kitchen.  During the day we felt warm with both stoves having fire in them but late in the evening the fires were banked to keep only the embers hot.  It could get quite cold in rooms away from the stoves.

Grandma Mama was also a quilt maker.  In the cold winter there were quilts everywhere.  In the fall she took down the summer curtains and hung quilts over the windows.  The windows were quite drafty.  She called it her fall cleaning.  She put quilts on the beds and sometimes hung quilts over doors and on the walls. Grandma Mama was my frugal hero so I do as much like her as possible.

The first hint of colder weather has come to our area.  Pleasant days and cool nights.  I learned a long time ago to expect the worst possible winter and hope we don’t get it.

I started my fall cleaning by taking down the curtains from my bedroom windows.  I checked the plastic to see that it was ok for another year.

Organizing 2015 042

I washed the curtains and window quilts.  Wouldn’t you just know it, the quilts shrank.  Lucky it was only the length that shrank not the width.  I sewed a piece on one end and put them up on the windows.  Then put up the heavy velour curtains too.  One quilt is pulled up and the other is down to show how they look.  I open them in the morning and close them in the evening.

Organizing 2015 043

You’d be surprised how much warmer a room feels with plastic, quilts, and heavy curtains on old single pane windows.  I’m not quite ready to change the bed coverings from summer to winter.  I’m planning to hold off as long as possible before using the furnace.   I’d love to get by without turning it on at all but I know that’s near impossible.  I’ll be doing more winter prepping as time allows.

How about you?  Have you started your winter prepping yet?

9 comments on “Cold weather prepping

  1. Jane
    December 27, 2015

    Has anybody tried bubble wrap on your windows? I did it just in the bottom half of my upstairs windows & it seems to work well. I had indoor storm windows cut from plexiglass some years ago that also make a big difference. I attach them with wingnuts.

    I have no heat upstairs except what goes up from the wood stove, which is toasty warm, but I can’t afford to keep the stove going all the time (wood is expensive, but I collect what I can for free as well).

    I also made coverings to hang in front of my cellar door and one of the back doors. This old (1855) house is full of doors!

    I quite enjoy your blog, Na Na. I’m a nana, too.

    • Na Na
      December 27, 2015

      Yes, bubble wrap works great on cold windows. Cheap and effective. Thanks for making a comment to suggest it to others. I’ve thought about getting Plexiglas for my windows but the expense is more than I can afford. In the coldest weather I hang quilts over my outside doors because I don’t have storm doors. Opening the door can be a hassle though so one door only gets a quilt cover at night. I do have a quilt to hang in a large opening between my studio and kitchen area. I keep it closed most of the winter. I heat only the studio during the day when I’m working there. Then after work hours I heat only the kitchen and bedroom where I sleep.

  2. Patricia
    October 20, 2015

    I’ve put the thick down quilt into the LL Bean old flannel duvet and pulled out the electric blanket (I only use it for 4 hours each night to warm the whole bed as I can’t fall asleep with cold feet) – I’ve sealed up the windows and am going to bring down an Italian space heater that I used when I live further north than here. I put it close to my recliner in the living room and turn it on only when watching TV or reading before I go to bed. Since I live in a rented duplex in a very old wooden house, the upstairs gets very cold – it was the attic and isn’t that insulated. I’ve begun baking bread and muffins and meals to warm up the kitchen and dining room. Washed my thick old channel long robe and pulled out my thick rag wool socks to keep my feet warm. I’m as ready as I can get.

    • Na Na
      October 20, 2015

      Sounds like you are ready for the cold. I did hear on the news that most of the country is going to get a blast of cold in a few days. Some will get snow too like they did in upper east coast a couple of days ago.

      What are rag wool socks? Where can I get them?

  3. craftytadpole
    October 16, 2015

    I’m starting small and making myself a few crochet toques and working on a warm quilt for our bed. I’m hoping to move on to making a few more window quilts after that.

  4. Amy
    October 15, 2015

    We are getting our wood supply in. We heat with two wood stoves, and also have a bit of passive solar. The bathroom has a small electric oil heater, and we did purchase an Eden Pure a couple of years ago. All in all, other than the bathroom heater, It’s all wood. I have been enjoying this Colorado fall weather. I love the cool/cold days until after Christmas. Then I get very depressed and wish I could live in Arizona or Nevada until May.😨

    • Na Na
      October 15, 2015

      I know what you mean. After Christmas its not fun anymore. I get depressed too.

  5. Frugalwarrior2
    October 15, 2015

    our furnace has already been cleaned and the humidifier attached too. Our furnace started running in sept. We need a new one but hubby is out of work again so maybe we will be babying it again-hope not. This weekend the patio set comes in and Halloween is set up. Kinda melancholy.

    • Na Na
      October 15, 2015

      Is it that cold there already? I watch for news of cold weather in other areas to see if its moving in our direction. Sorry to hear he is out of work again. Thankfully you are frugal kinda person.

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