Tuesday, January 13, 2015

warm hearts

I've been doing some small projects as I wait for our baby girl to be born! It's helpful to distract myself with something creative when I'm feeling so ready to greet this sweet little one.

For a long time now, I've wavered between giving away and keeping a certain pink wool zip-up hoodie I've had at least since my freshman year of college. It's cute, cozy, and the perfect fit...and I've worn the elbows to death. I darned them multiple times, and it just was not working anymore. I'm not really into elbow patches, so that option was out. So I kept the sweater. And tossed it between the "mend" and "give away" piles. Until a couple evenings ago.

Joshie and I came in from a very cold day in the snow last Monday, and I heated up my big rice pack for him to warm his hands and to keep him snuggled on the couch for a few minutes. It was hard for him to hold the large hot pack, but he was soon warm enough to be happy. That sparked my thoughts...maybe he needs his own hot pack!

I also recently saw that a friend (and relative) of mine made a small hot pack for her preemie's belly; it has helped his tummy troubles to subside and allowed him to sleep! Baby Center also recommends a warm pack like that for soothing colic in newborns, and I thought I should make one.

The final push to get this little project done came when I saw someone's adorable heart-shaped rice packs, and I had to give it a go! I honestly don't remember where I saw it, so if it was you, please know that you inspired me.

Would you like to make some, too? They're quick and easy, and you can make them in any shape you'd like!

You'll need:

Paper for creating a pattern
Dry rice (not quick rice)
Sewing machine
Essential oil or dried lavender, if desired
A natural fiber fabric (cotton, wool, etc.)
Note: I used two fabrics, a wool sweater for the outside, and a 100% cotton tee shirt fabric (jersey) for the inside. You really only need one, but my wool sweater was worn very thin and needed some more structure.

Use your paper to create a simple shape for your pattern. I chose a heart shape, but it would be just as functional to cut a square, triangle, circle...or you could get fancy and do something else!

Cut two fabric pieces for each hot pack, and stack them with wrong sides (inside of fabric) together.

Using a zig-zag stitch, sew almost all the way around your fabric sandwich, leaving about 1" of the perimeter unsewn.

Using your funnel, spoon rice into your hot pack. My 4" hearts needed about 4T of rice each to feel full enough. You should have enough room to be able to shift the rice around a bit; don't stuff too firmly. At this point, you could also include dried lavender or a few drops of essential oil, if you'd like a scent other than warm rice.

Remove the funnel and sew up the opening of the hot pack. Be sure to start on top of the existing stitching so that there's less chance of the stitches unraveling.

Trim your edges close to the stitching so that they look neat. 

Microwave for about 30 seconds on high and enjoy!

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