When you live in a 90-year-old house, drafts are common.
I, for one, am sick of being cold - and it's not even officially winter yet. So last night, after letting the dog out and feeling a breeze filter underneath the threshold of our back door, I decided to do something about that particular stream of cold air. (We've also done and will continue to do lots of insulating and weather stripping.)
I measured the width of the door as well as the depth of the cracks letting in the cold air. We'll eventually need to do something about sealing them, but I wanted a quick fix in the meantime.
I took those measurements, doubled the depth and cut a rectangle of heavy fleece material to size. I stitched three sides of it together with my sewing machine. It's a little bit broken - it only runs in reverse - but I was able to make a functional sleeve.
I filled several newspaper bags with cat litter, sealed them with a knot and snaked them into the sleeve. If you're trying this, don't fill your bags too full or they'll be torture to get into the sleeve. (Here are more ways you can reuse newspaper bags.)
I used the bags to contain the cat litter, in case my fabric or stitching wasn't dense enough to keep it from spilling out. I hate the texture of cat litter under my feet, even if I have shoes on. Gross. Also, if the draft-stopper ever gets wet, I'm hoping this will keep the litter from clumping.
I'd originally planned to use rice, but as Rob pointed out, it's probably not a great idea to have a sack of an edible grain right at the entrance to our home.
When I was finished adding the bags of litter, I had enough material left over to finish the draft stopper with a knot (see above note about my sewing machine only running in reverse).
It took me about half an hour to make the draft stopper, but I noticed an immediate difference when I put it next to the door. I hope this means no more cold feet while I'm standing there, watching my sweet dog attend to his business in the backyard.
Photo from this Flickr page. My draft-stopper is much less pretty.