I usually like the cold. well, let’s just say that if I had my preference between hot weather and cold... I would definitely choose the colder. I think you can always put on more clothes, but you can only take so much off.
My main thermostat are my hands, feet and then my head. If the first two are warm and toasty, I am doing fine, if cold...then the cold is not so fun.
What does all this have to do with Thursday’s Crafting? you may ask...
How about Rice and Flax seed hand warmers. I saw some advertised and whoa! They were not only expensive but each and every one had a scent involved with the item. I personally do not like commercially scented “thingies” because the scent usually has a “perfumey” acidic smell.
So, I began researching “how to make your own Rice Hand Warmers” and the result was fabulous!
Easy Easy Easy – so that is exactly what I did...
the basics are simple, sew a square, rectangle, or other shape right side together, leaving a turning opening, turn, fill using a funnel with desired product, close up opening, and pop it into the microwave for specific amount of time and “whalla” you have yourself a warmer.
The first one I made was solely for heating and putting at the end of my bed before I went to sleep. Like an old fashioned “bed foot warmer.” It was simple, a long rectangle filled with white rice. Worked great! My feet were in heaven on these cold fall nights in Colorado.
The problem I had was: it was very heavy and a bit awkward when handling because the rice shifted everywhere making it difficult to handle.
I came up with a new design: to make channels, fill those with rice, and have control over the rice or flax inside of the warmer. IT WORKED!
My first “new style” was just like the first one but... it had one and a half inch channels that made if more manageable and I could wrap it around my hands or feet whereas I could not the plain sack style. AND, I used half the amount of rice for the same amount of warming. I did find an article where they made channels but those were four inches; I like my smaller ones better. Now, to make sure that all the channels had the same amount of filling, I used a measuring cup.
The next one I used the same concept as the flat warmer but this time I folded it in thirds so I could use it like an old fashioned “MUFF” (not sure some of you younger ladies would remember but before the 60’s it was popular to own a rabbit fur “muff” that you could stick your hands inside to keep warm in the winter.)
I sewed everything just like a flat then hand sewed the folded edges. Easy. It is my favorite warmer, in the morning when outside with Gypsy and Samantha and it is chilly I just heat it up, put my hands inside and go outside happy as a snow bunny.
The third one is mainly for my footsies. I doubled the size of my flat warmer width wise and sewed a space down the center to have room when folded over. Then made my channels as usual and filled one side first, sewed it closed, next filled the other side. I then hand sewed closed the sides and whammo, you have a pocket where you can stick your feet inside and be oh so warm. hands work here too :)
The Fabric: It MUST be 100% Cotton, trust me on this, if you use a synthetic it could and most likely will melt. There are a lot of fun and beautiful cotton fabrics out there. I did not wash mine beforehand, it does soften a little after heating a few times. Not sure is these can be washed.
First of all, you want your filler material to be microwaveable; that eliminates anything with a metallic component, which will spark. It should stay warm for an extended period of time. It should have a nice smell or no odor when heated. And finally, it should have a nice feel against your skin. The ones that are most popular are: rice, dried corn, and flaxseed.
All three meet the requirements of retaining heat, having a pleasant smell, and feeling good against your skin. And I like the fact you can buy any of these very inexpensively in the bulk food section at most supermarkets. If you're making more than a few heating pads, this is something to consider.
Which of the three, rice, dried corn, and flaxseed – would perform best. First, I eliminated the corn, it was too lumpy for me, but worth the try is you want.
The next two I was able to do a test myself to see which was best. I used my 800watt microwave for 30 seconds with about 1 cup of the fillings.
*Rice: 140° out of the microwave. Five minutes later had cooled to 136°. And it has a nice "full" feel, almost like a batting fiber. However, this one is heavier.
*Flaxseed: 144° out of the microwave. Five minutes later had cooled to 142°. This one retained the most amount of heat; and flowed the most easily and conformed to where you laid it. This one feels lighter and softer.
now the HEAT!: This is where you have to be careful- they can get hot and burn not only the fillers, but you as well. Mine- differ depending on the size and filler I use. I suggest you start out heating for only 30 seconds, see how you like the feel. If needed, wait for the item to cool and reheat increasing the time by another 15 to 30 seconds. Keep doing this until you find the right time- Warning! do not heat more than 2 minutes taking care not to cook your filling.
These are a wonderful gift idea. Hand Warmers, Foot Warmers, and... Back and Neck warmers are very popular. Be creative, (remembering to keep any decorations pure cotton and metal free.)
Although maybe too late in the season, I am even thinking about making these and selling them at Holiday Craft Fairs, or the local Farmers Market. It is a thought, they are easy enough to make, and the expense is low and a small profit can be obtained. I will keep you updated to any new designs.
As with all my crafting posts; If you make some I would love to feature them here.