The View From Halcyon Farm: Keeping Warm

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    With the bitter cold week we’ve had in this area, and more bitter temperatures expected next week, we struggle to keep warm. Our furnaces run 24 hours a day attempting to keep the house warm, and so we thought we’d share some elegant tips to keep you warm without cranking up the heat too much.

    In nearly every shelter magazine, you can amuse yourself by playing “spot the blanket.” Photo editors love casually throwing a blanket across the end of the bed, tossing one over the arm of a sofa or stacking them unrealistically and artfully next to vintage books.


    Nothing’s better than wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket and taking a brief nap, reading a great book or watching this weekend’s upcoming Oscars. For bitter cold days like these, we love a heavy alpaca or cashmere blanket. If you take good care of them, they will last for years and become a treasured possession.

    If you like a weightier blanket, the gorgeous Hudson’s Bay blankets, as pictured above, is a great choice. They are heavy wool and have been classic for more than 100 years. You can buy them new, but if you find a vintage one in good condition, you’re in luck!

    In almost every house in the UK, you will find an essential cold weather helper – the hot water bottle. The tradition began with King Henry, VIII! Although they are more difficult to find here in the States – look on the lower shelves in the bandage section at the drug store – they are a cozy and warm accessory.


    Fill the bottle with hot water from your tap – depending on the temperature of your water heater, it should be hot enough for this – and place the hot water bottle at the foot of your bed a few minutes before you get in. It should be nice and warm for your feet! The bottle will gradually cool during the night, but if it’s close to your body, it will retain some heat.

    You can find some great water bottle covers in cashmere and wool which will make them doubly cozy.

    water bottles

    You don’t just need to use the hot water bottle in bed, you can cuddle up to it while you’re reading or watching television. It’s much better than cranking up the thermostat, and certainly more earth friendly!

    For those of us who live in old houses that might not be as air-tight as newer models, one of the oldest solutions for keeping warm is to add another layer! A big Aran or Irish knit sweater is perfect for this. You want to be able to pop it on over what you’re already wearing. If you have an Irish gran who can knit you up a sweater, you’re much luckier than we are.


    Your Aran sweater should be big and bulky to keep you warm and provide insulation for you. Make sure you get a wool sweater, it will last you for years.  And if you need to pop outside to get more firewood or walk the dog, you’ll be set. If they kept the Irish fishermen warm, think what they’ll do for you.

    The View From Halcyon Farm is sponsored by Halcyon House Antiques, located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue and open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information visit the Halcyon House website or call 410-828-8889.

    Meg Fielding

    Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.

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