Last week, I was blog-stalking reading Bower Power, when I was given the largest zap of inspiration I’ve had in awhile. Hmmm, that takes A LOT of zap, because I’ve been pretty motivated lately.
Before the hubby, I had a horrible not so wonderful average boyfriend with a wonderful grandmother. She gifted me a few bean bags, to which I fell in love with. Now, these weren’t just any bean bags, these were magical bean bags, that would grow into a magical beanstalk…oh, wait, wrong story. These were microwavable bean bags that heated up and kept me nice and toasty on a cold day (and they are WONDERFUL for menstrual cramps, or general stomachaches…just sayin’). A few years into the relationship with the hubby, he threw them away. I don’t really remember why. Then, to make up for it, he bought me one for Christmas last year. But it wasn’t made out of the right material, and after a year of use, it started a fire in the microwave. Yes, a fire. I screamed.
I’ve been on the look-out for a replacement. It NEVER occurred to me to make one. Even though I know how. And my original ones were hand-made. I am such a dork. So, I set out on a weekend project.
Friday night, with 2 inches of snow and a layer of ice on the ground, and more to come, the hubby drove me across town to Jo-Ann Fabric. I didn’t buy a sewing machine, or a hand-stitcher thingy like my husband suggested. Nope, I was going to do this the old-fashioned way. He laughed at me. I got sad. Then we got in the car and I remembered—these are going to have RICE in them. I can’t loosely hand-stich them. What the **$%&bajeezus&%%^#** was I thinking?
With 5 inches of snow on the ground, we went to Wally World to buy a hand-stitcher thingy. The hubby put a sewing machine in the cart. I took it out. He put it back in. I took it back out. He promised to show me how to use it:
- I am not dumb, and I knew I could figure it out.
- He is domesticated and does all the sewing in our house. Or he takes it to his mom and has her do it.
I saw a picture on the side of the one and only Martha. It was recommended by her. AND it came with a free 1 year subscription to Martha Stewart Living. That totally justifies the cost, right? I put it back in the cart. SOLD! Happy early Valentine’s Day to me. Best of all? If you already have a subscription, you can get a refund for $15. That’s brings the total cost of the machine to $74.
Then I took a break to make some cookies…
I read the instruction manual. I thought back to Home-Economics class in Junior High when I made a crooked sweatshirt and frayed tote-bag. At first, all I could remember was the cute boy (or two) that made me laugh, and I started to worry that I didn’t actually learn anything. BUT have no fear, I was an excellent student. It all came flooding back. Even when the direction manual was lacking, I totally figured it out, no sweat. Presser foots and handwheels and bobbin winders and threaders. I should have bought one of these years ago. I even got crafty and hand-sewed some decorative elements on, albeit that needs some practice. Not even an hour later, I had two super-cute rice packs. I even made the husband one.
I happen to like the “yeasty rice” smell. It reminds me of freshly baked bread. Eric hates the smell, so I sprinkled a couple of herbal tea bags in his. He still didn’t like the smell, but he really loved it when I threw it under the covers as a toe-warmer when the temperature dropped below zero.
To make your own:
Great directions (and another great blog) can be found here.
You can make them in any size. I made a really small one for practice, and the final product was about 12” x 8”. Some people like to make separate compartments so that the rice doesn’t go all to one side.
Don’t use instant rice. It’s not the same.
I also chose to use 100% cotton, but make sure whatever fabric that you choose is microwave-safe (polyester, acrylic, spandex, wool would not be good choices).
I thought about using Stitch-Witchery, but couldn’t find any solid evidence that it wouldn’t set fire to the microwave, or simply melt off, leaving rice everywhere.
Be sure that if you want to sew on a cute element, you do it first, before the seams are sewn together.