How I Took Care of Myself This Week- Baby It's Warm Inside

From Sasha
So it's been cold. Reading the news, I am well aware that I will get little sympathy from most of you in the Northern United States (Seattle! Portland! Utah! I feel your pain!). Actually, we should expect some real winter weather here in the Sierra Foothills, since we are halfway up some of the biggest and snowiest mountains in the world... but honestly, since I've moved here, I've never seen snow til February, at the earliest. That makes this my first EVER White Christmas, and all of my favorite Christmas songs suddenly make sense... Yes! In the lane, snow IS glistening!
Yes! Winter IS a Marshmallow World!

But although I make my home at 3,000 feet in elevation, I have to tell you something quite honestly-- we rent a place that is basically a lovely summer residence. It lacks insulation, double paned windows, and a sufficient heater. Our first winter, fresh from the temperate Bay Area, we froze like popsicles and came down with historically awful cases of the flu. As time goes on, we try to perfect the imperfect science of "winterizing" our house. Since we rent, we're not going to actually take any permanent or costly steps, but there are little things we can do. (Putting plastic sheeting on the windows, however, has been banned for "aesthetic" reasons.) (Not by me, I might add!)
Job number one is getting some space heaters in to supplement our way-small and way-wimpy propane heater. This one here is my fave, and it is one of the most reasonable and energy-efficient heaters on the market-- you can get one at almost any hardware store for around $40. It directs the heat right at you via Infrared, like the sun on the Fourth of July; it makes those potentially unpleasant tasks like getting dressed or sitting and typing for long periods of time practically... tropical!
Job number two-- and this is my masterpiece, even if it looks crazy right now!-- insulating the living area under the loft. Our living room/kitchen are are under our sleeping loft, along with the heater, and the front entrance is a brutally Arctic two-story, vaulted-ceiling-ed, wall-of-windows No-Mans-Land. We use it to practice music in, since that heats you up naturally, but otherwise it doesn't see much use all winter long. So here is my job this year of making the "blanket cave". I haven't gotten around to putting uniform pieces of fabric over the wool blankets (collected all summer from yard sales with this specific purpose in mind), so it's pretty god-awful ugly, but at least you can see how I did it. It's airtight! The 25% German in me is sooooo pleased with my engineering job. Obviously, because who else would blog about their blanket cave but a German? (That's Chris' troll collection on the top shelf, by the way!) (He is another German, but I'm not sure whether that is related to trolls or not- you could make an arguement for it.)
Last but not least, one must generate some heat from inside one's own self. Normally a walk up and down the steep hill that is our road would do this, but when it's dark and icy, the blood starts to get pretty lethargic. Cold toes and fingers are a sign that circulation needs a boost, and my number one remedy for this-- and almost every other ailment!-- is powdered Ginger. This is available in the bulk spice department of your health food store, or in a little jar or box in the spice section at the regular grocery store. I positively couldn't live without Ginger in the winter. It's great for cooking, of course--we just made a fabulous chicken coconut pineapple dish with it last night-- but it is also just perfect added to hot water to make an instant tea. Put in as much as your palette can stand, and sip it down hot-- you'll feel the life returning to your extremities immediately! Ginger is considered a cure-all, health panacea in many cultures, and it is used for menstrual cramping, nausea, and poor digestion, among other things. Since it is a yummy-tasting food, not just a medicine, it's easy to establish a relationship with Ginger. The powdered is hotter then the fresh, by the way, and that's why I keep it around (honestly, the fresh also takes more work to grate, and when I'm cold I am lazy!)
Now the nice thing about being inside is that it slows me down (no easy task), and makes me more creative. Last week I was "stuck" at home because I couldn't get my car out to go to work, and there was no electricity (read: Internet). For the first time in years I rearranged all of my craft supplies so that they were easier to access, and in the process I rediscovered some of my favorite creations that had somehow never gotten unpacked from our last move! This is the "flatware" series, where I've attached some favorite small objects to some neat old silverware. Very appropriate kitchen decor, eh?
I just love mixed-media sculpture, and I'm hoping to do some more in the New Year. I made several jewelry purchases from Etsy that celebrate this aesthetic, and I was reminded that I love to make jewelry, too. Selling vintage clothes is going so well (thank you universe!), and I would love to have a little Etsy site with my artwork/jewelry too! I need to bone up on my jewelry-making techniques, but I feel very encouraged that Etsy is exactly where my potential audience shops. Just thinking of all of my failed experiments at selling my creations (hand-dyed and hand-painted clothing, "votive" candles of The Cure; does this ring a bell with any of you?) in my early 20s, I feel bad for myself, because it was so difficult to get to one's potential customers back then-- and I honestly considered myself a failure! Thank the gawd-ess for the Internet, and for Etsy... these inventions really have the power to change lives. 
Well, happy holidays to all of you- I honestly mean it when I say that I hope you are warm and happy! It's hard to have the latter without the former, as I can attest. Though the right hat really helps:
Ho ho ho ho and a field full of snow!