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Make Your Own Energy-Saving Thermal Curtains

"Windows are very frequently a source of lost heat in your home. Older homes may suffer from only having single-paned windows, which lose a large amount of heat, and even newer double-paned insulated windows lack enough insulation against cold winter temperatures and wind. However, you can save home heating costs and easily bulk up the insulation around your windows by making your own inexpensive thermal curtains.

Thermal curtains are energy-efficient window shades* that insulate against the cold around your windows. They are a thick and heavy buffer and can significantly decrease the money you spend on energy to heat your house. If you are handy with a sewing machine or know someone who is, there’s not much more you need than some old blankets or comforters, fabric, and a fair amount of time."

Elegant wooden iPad cover from Holland

From Make Online:

"Check out this super sleek wooden roll top cover for the iPad 2 from Dutch case manufacturer Miniot. Made from a single piece of cherrywood, the case fits snug to the tablet using internal magnets. The design differs from the stock Apple Smart Cover with its rigid rolling arch, smooth organic lines, and its lack of hinge. Though I have yet to hold one in my hand, from what I’ve seen in the video demonstration it appears to offer superior support when used as a stand to prop up the device."

GMC Safari van

Spotted this on the way back from Santa Cruz yesterday. Looks smaller, more compact than many of the live-in type vans. Now if it had 4-wheel drive, you'd really have something. (When I first posted, I said it was a Ford, but got corrected.)

Stormy weather

We were 2 days without electricity. At night we used this great candle holder (from Lehmans -- I heartily recommend getting their Lehmans Non-Electric Catalog -- especially if you are homesteading or gardening or pursuing the home arts).

Finally hooked up our Honda 3000 generator to get the office computers going. (This model is as silent as generators get, and has an "eco-mode" that conserves energy.) It's kind of a shock to realize that our publishing business is pretty totally dependent upon electricity.
There's something nice about candlelight and no TV, staring into the flames of the fireplace, the silence. One of my friends used to say, about being off the grid, "no 60 cycle hum." But the reality is, our mail order book business and most of our publishing communication is electric, as well as electronic.
Also on Sunday, a tree fell on the only road into and out of town, so I couldn't get up to Sebastapol Sunday for a screening of the 6-minute documentary on our homestead.

Remodeled 1978 Airstream trailer

By Santa Barbara (Calif.) architect Mathew Hoffman


The Affordable LEED Platinum Habitat for Humanity House

"This classic American home is the end result of smart planning, high performance materials, and passive design techniques.  Designed on a $100,000 dollar budget by the Michigan firm of Dominick Tringali Architects, the project is set to be a prototype for the next generation of Habitat for Humanity homes.…Reaching back to an era of architectural elegance, the style represents a return to traditional design, one in which their is a niche market for.  It's always great to see the once seemingly impossible goal of affordable, single-family LEED Platinum be tackled with such a reverence for iconic American building details."


Evan's birthday snowboard run with GoPro Helmet Hero camera

My son Evan spent his 30th birthday (March 20th -- Spring equinox) -- snowboarding in powder snow with his friend Sean in the hills above Lake Tahoe. Recorded with a GoPro Helmet Hero HD wide angle lens video camera.

(Sending this from Verve Roasters super coffee shop with good wi-fi, in Santa Cruz on a rainy morning. We're down here to visit grandson baby Maceo.)

"Went up to a water tower above Agate Bay with my soon to be brother in law. We snowshoed a ways up the hill then rode down towards the cabin through the backcountry. . . ."

Vintage trailer for sale in UK

Richard Ieian Jones just sent in this link to a vintage trailer up for auction right now in Church Stretton, Shropshire, UK : http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270723780467&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1156

This is a rare opportunity to buy a vintage 1949 Carlight 4 berth 16ft touring caravan.
The roof is water tight, panels are good and chassis is sound bar(ring) a weak 3ft section on the A frame but this can be plated. All windows are intact but has 2 small places of rot in toilet area around wooden window frame and gas bottle compartment. Wired up for 240V.
The exterior paint work and the top 1/2 of the door panel is not original.
The interior has all the original fixtures and fittings.
Caravan was saved from being destroyed and retrieved from a dry barn in Herefordshire.
This will make a great restoration project for a keen enthusiast.
I am listing this on behalf of a friend who can be contacted for more details on 07971 742934

Adobe and straw bale buildings at El Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

"The five casitas and lodge were built of adobe in the last few years by David and Jennifer MacKay."

Pictures of the El Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center, which is situated on a twenty acre oasis in the town of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, appearing on Alt. Build Blog.

I stayed here a few years ago. It's a wonderful  place in a beautiful old Mexican town in the mountains.

Lots of stuff to check out on this blog.

Alternate Building Blog

Tons of good stuff on this website. Click on subjects in sidebar. "…topics such as earthen and traditional building, passive solar energy, energy conservation, owner builder issues, tiling, stone masonry, woodworking, gardening, landscaping and the trades in general, not to mention the odd and the unusual.…" http://altbuildblog.blogspot.com/