Sunday, October 30, 2016

YOJA Thermal Room Darkening Curtain Review

In my attempts to decrease spending and increase the efficiency of my apartment heating and cooling systems, I have purchased a YOJA Thermal Insulated Black Out curtain. The single curtain arrived just days ago and I am so pleased with the insulating properties that I am planning on purchasing a set for every window and door.  Whether you are looking for an insulating curtain or a room darkening curtain, I highly recommend the YOJA.

Heating & Cooling Savings in Apartments

If you live in an apartment, as I do, you often cannot control the quality (or lack thereof) heating and cooling systems, quality of weather-proofing, and ability to control temperatures in your living area. As a tenant you are often limited in what modifications you can do for yourself. But good news! There are some things that you can do to increase energy (and money) savings.

My battles in this small apartment are constant and ongoing.  This article will focus on my terribly inefficient metal entry door and the approach of winter. 

YOJA Thermal & Black Out Curtain Panels

Whether you are in a rental unit or your own home, these curtains are a great choice.  I am surprised at how pretty they are and highly recommend them for decorating purposes alone.  But if you are looking for insulating or room darkening qualities, I think these curtains are a MUST.

YOJA Thermal Black Out Curtains - 1 panel and tie-back per pack

Room Darkening

I did not purchase this curtain for room darkening purposes. However, I was curious about the room darkening claims. As soon as the curtain arrived, I walked around the apartment - facing different windows and eventually the very bright light in my bathroom, and held the curtain over my face.  It blocked all noticeable light. Out of curiosity, and because I'm a bit strange, I also went to those windows and that bathroom light with a variety of materials over my face: towels, jeans, khakis, and blankets.  All of those materials let light through in some way.  

In my reading of reviews, I learned that if the curtain is room darkening, but is on the wrong curtain rods, light will still enter the room from around the curtain.  If complete room darkening is your goal, you should use the proper curtain rods to help with that.

wraparound blackout curtain rod example

Insulation and Temperature Control

Back to my door dilemma.  My entry door is a problem. It is metal that must have little to no core for insulation.  It is ill-fitting due to the building that has settled over the decades.  My air conditioning escapes in the summer and horrendous cold drafts blow in during the winter. My heating and cooling bills skyrocket.

I have considered using the automatic closing, magnetic, door covering but cannot due to the angle that my door opens (it opens in to the apartment).  This is likely a really good option for sliding doors or doors that open out.

magnetized door curtain

In previous years, I've used door draft stoppers - very helpful but only when I'm inside and can place it there.  I've installed my own "weatherstripping" to some limited success.  And ultimately have considered installing a blanket of some sort over my door.

The blanket idea is what led to my curtain purchase.

I have hung this YOJA curtain over my door.  I've used Command brand heavy-duty, removable hooks to avoid hammering nails into the wall. The curtain drapes flat against the door.

Since I've hung the curtain, we have had three mornings of cold temps.  I can feel a definite difference of temperature on each side of the curtain (the side against the door is much colder). so it appears that this curtain will aid in insulating.

The curtain is not long enough to hang on the hooks above the door and stop the leak at the very bottom of the door. I will continue to use a draft stopper for that.  

pretty draft stopper 

Perhaps folks would find that this curtain over the door looks silly. But I am so focused on decreasing my utility bills that I'm not concerned about it looking silly.  Frankly, the curtain is such a pretty material and drape, that I don't think it looks as bad as that ugly and cold metal apartment door. 

A sample of some of the many Yoja colors to choose from

opening graphic design courtesy of FotoJet and Pixabay

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Baking Bread on Sunday

What a wonderful day.I spent this autumn Sunday catching up on neglected paperwork and chores. I also spent it baking bread.  This delicious bread recipe by Alexandra's Kitchen is easy enough for me to bake successfully each time I try it. My kitchen smells of homemade bread. I feel obligated to pass it on to you.

6 Ingredient Recipe

This Peasant Bread recipe only requires 6 ingredients that (except for the yeast) even I keep on hand.

  • flour
  • salt
  • yeast
  • water
  • sugar
  • butter
I cannot claim any part of creating this wonderful recipe but I can lead you to Alexandra's Kitchen. Not only can you find this wonderful Peasant bread recipe there, she also provides photographs and videos that lead you step-by-step through the process. Including how to proof the yeast.

Someone, namely me, is thrilled to have these step-by-step baking tutorials at my fingertips. You may find the site as helpful as I do. And if you are at all inclined to bake easy bread, you may find this recipe as wonderful as I do.

Additional Recipe Sites

There are many healthy, easy, and fun recipes on Review This! A group of contributors provide a variety of recipes and food fun. You will also find kitchen gadget reviews and cooking tips.

Recipes For Real People provides recipes for those of us who need easy recipes with fewer and easy-to-find ingredients. I have been thankful for these quick and easy meal ideas.

Culinary Favorites from A - Z is a site that provides recipes, cookbook reviews, and introduces us to top-rated kitchen tools.

If you plan on Cooking for the Holidays, this site is for you. Holiday and celebration recipes and ideas, festive drinks, and holiday table settings are the focus of this site. 

At Sam's Place you will find a variety of things that Sam enjoys. Including delicious recipes. Some of the recipes he shares are family recipes passed down to Sam and then to us. I have to say, however, I'm partial to his grilling recipes.

The opening photo design is created courtesy of FotoJet using my own photograph of today's Peasant Bread