Thursday, May 6, 2010

DIY Gift Idea: Soothing Warmer Pack

Does that seem redundant?  I'll explain.

It's another sewing project. I hope I'm not being exclusive by doing two sewing posts in a row. The last project was fairly easy; this project is really easy.  It takes me about ten to fifteen minutes, start to finish, to make it.  I've made twelve this week (my mom wanted me to help her make some for her friends), with one more left to make (pending material decision).  I think it's a great, inexpensive homemade gift (*cough*Mother'sDay*cough*) PLUS I'm going to give one away to one of you lovely readers.

So what is it, you ask?  My sister-in-law gave one of these to me as a gift and she called it a "werewolf warmer pack" with instructions to heat it up to 108 degrees.  For those who don't get the funny Twilight allusion (or want to pretend they don't), you can just call it a warmer pack, or you can take it a step further to make it sound more fancy and call it an aromatherapeutic heat pack.

Basically, it's a soft pouch filled with rice (scented with essential oils) that you heat in the microwave. After a minute or so, the pack is ready to put on any sore, tired, or sick part of your body.  A couple months ago when I was really sick with a nasty bug, this thing was such a relief!  It totally helped my head and body aches. I made one yesterday for my grandpa who just got out of the hospital (I made him one in a manly plaid print - can't give him any of this girly material). I would have also loved this when I was a huge, uncomfortable pregnant lady (guess there's always next time).

You don't have to be sick or hurt or pregnant to enjoy it, though. Sometimes I just use mine to relax and wind down at the end of the day. Or you could heat it up, stick it under the covers of your bed before you get in, and warm up your bedding. Basically, I can't think of anyone couldn't find some way to enjoy and use this thing! 

To make a warmer pack, you'll need:
  • a 12"x"12" piece of flannel (you can make it any size you want)
  • coordinating thread
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups white rice
  • essential oil (optional)
  • bias tape or ribbon
I bought new material for my warmer packs since I'm giving them as gifts, but if this is just something for you or your family to use, I was thinking you could easily use an old pair of flannel pajamas to make yours (Random Reuse!). Just a thought.

First, prep all your materials.  I know I've expressed my dislike for the cutting phase, but it's actually not that bad with this project. I measured my square and cut it out. Then I used that square as a guide to cut the squares for the other eleven I made (no mat or rotary cutter - just my regular sewing scissors). Worked like a charm. The edges for this project don't need to be perfectly straight (not that you shouldn't try, of course). 

Next, cut a piece of ribbon or bias tape - about 4 or 5 inches long.

After you finish cutting your fabric, get your white rice ready.  When my sister-in-law made my pack, she scented the rice with some lavender essential oil. You can use any essential oil, but I think lavender is a good choice because of its calming and relaxing properties.  You don't need a lot of oil, just a few drops. I put my rice in a bowl, gave it a few drops of oil, and then mixed it around with my hand.  Now, you don't have to do the essential oil part, but I think it's a nice touch.

Fold your fabric in half so the right sides are facing in.  Stitch along the entire long side of the rectangle.  Now you have a fabric tube.

 Move the seam you just sewed to the middle of the rectangle (like in the picture above).

 Sew one of the short ends, about 1/4" in.

Turn the bag right-side out.  I use a chopstick to push out the corners completely.  On the same end that you sewed shut, topstitch along the seam about 1/4" in. This is for decorative purposes.

Fill the bag with rice. The directions I followed called for 1 1/2 cups, but the one that I was given had closer to two cups in it.  I made all mine with 2 cups.  You don't want to fill it too much because you want the pack to conform to your body. 

Once it's filled, fold the edges of the fabric of the open side in and pin together. With your strip of ribbon or bias tape, fold it in half, and stick in the corner (pin it in place if you need to). This loop will make it easier to handle the pack when it's hot. Sew along the edge, making sure to sew through the folded fabric and the bias tape/ribbon.  The seams on each end should look similar   

Your heat pack is finished! See, I told you it was easy!  When you're ready to use it, stick it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Handle carefully - it can get really hot (hence the little corner loop).

If you're awesome at paper crafts (like the sister-in-law I keep mentioning in this post) and you're giving it as a gift, you could add a ribbon and cute tag with the heating instructions on it. Like I've been saying, it's a great gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, pregnant women, and for anyone feeling under the weather.

 Now for the giveaway!  I'm going to make you one of these warmer packs, but I have to find out what material you want first.  To enter the giveaway...

Leave a comment and tell me if you want the red or the pink material. I guess I could also make it out of the manly flannel I used for my grandpa (it's a navy blue, forest green, white, and yellow plaid pattern), if you're interested.  Also, since it is Mothers Day weekend, you could also mention something about your mom that you loved when you were a kid. Or something you love to do as a mom, if applicable. This isn't a requirement, per se. Basically, I'm fishing for comments that aren't just "Pink." or "Red."  Plus, I'm always looking for ideas on how to be a better mother.

For extra entries:
1. Mention this giveaway on your own blog.
2. Post a button on your blog (see my sidebar and click on the button).
3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook.
4. Become a follower of this blog (see sidebar for that, too).

If you do all four, you get four extra entries. So really, you could have five chances to win. If you do any of the extra things, leave a separate comment telling me about them. It'll help me keep track. The winner will be chosen randomly. I will ship this anywhere in the U.S.
The deadline to enter is Mother's Day, May 9, at midnight. I'll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck! 


Jenn said...

I like the pink! and I think you are uber awesome and talented! You amaze me every day love you to pieces

Stephanie said...

I love the pink one. Something I love about my mom, was birthdays and holidays. She always made sure she made a super big deal out of them.

And of course I have your button on my blog!

Stephanie F. said...

Ooh, I love both fabrics, totally my style! But I'll choose pink. I loved that my mom read to me, up until 6th grade I think.

Stephanie F. said...

Posted a link on Facebook too!

Stephanie F. said...

Oh, there's a button :)

carrie said...

Oh Heather! I love it! I love both....but especially the pink one. What I love about my mom is the way she stands by what she believes in and doesn't change her beliefs no matther what anyone says. She is really true to her faith. :o)

carrie said...

I posted on my FB page :o)

carrie said...

I posted a blog button on my blog :o)

carrie said...

And....I became a FOLLOWER. ;o)

skcoe said...

I choose red...mostly because I'm extremely rebellious and everyone else chose pink. :)

My mom is AMAZING. Where to start? She always had hobbies besides those of her children. She supported us and drove us and cheered us on to dance and drama and sports, but expected the same when it came to her hobbies too. I loved that she was always a "person" outside of being a mother.

skcoe said...

I'm your new follower! YAY! (That goes for my other post, too!)

Megan said...

WAY cute!! I of course love the pink one. There are so many things that i love about my mother and about being a mother. I think that one of the things that i love the most about my mom is that NO matter how hard her life has been and no matter what trials she is handed her faith has not dwindled, instead it has just become stronger, which makes me want to be a better person.

Megan said...

oh and i follow you of course :-)

Nisha said...

I'd go for the red. My absolute favorite and most memorable thing my mom did when we were growing up is she used to ask us "What was your favorite part of the day?" before saying goodnight. It made us think about all the good things that happened and choose the BEST thing. What a great way to go to sleep!

Nisha said...

I have your button on my blog.

Nisha said...

I also follow.

Nisha said...

Just mentioned this on FB.

Nisha said...

Just gave you some bloggy love too!

Betsy Escandon said...

Once again, I wish I could sew. I was seriously wanting one of these this week -- as I had a plugged duct (no lie!) -- side effect of breastfeeding. My sister suggested I use one of these, but I don't have one. I like pink.

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