Something you can expect to see more of this month is old projects that I didn't blog about at the time. And this is one of them! For Christmas last year, I made rice heating pads for several of my friends. They were quite straight-forward and I took (bad) photos but never got round to sharing them. Or I forgot, because I didn't want to post photos before giving the presents.
They are really not that tricky to make.
The first part is a white, plain cotton bag, to hold the rice. Cut out a rectangle that's double the size you want the pad to be, fold it over, and sew nearly all the way round the open sides, leaving about 3cm/an inch open. Turn it inside out, then fill it about half-full with long-grain rice (don't use easy-cook rice; do use a funnel). You want it to be quite substantial but not too full, so that you can wrap it round your shoulders or wherever. Then sew up the gap as tightly and neatly as possible.
The covers were made almost like a pillowcase. I cut the pieces of coloured fabric about 3cm/an inch wider than the finished rice bag, and just over twice as long. Then I hemmed the ends, and folded the fabric strip round sort of like this:
I sewed it up with the right-sides on the inside, turned it the right way round, then added a button and a loop to hold it closed. I tried button-holes on the first couple I made, but since my sewing machine doesn't have a button-hole foot (I think it should have one, but the machine is second-hand, and I don't have it) I had to do them by hand, and that didn't work so well. The fabric loops looked a lot neater and were quicker as well.
To heat them up, take the rice bag out of the cover and microwave it for about a minute and a half. You can also use them as cooling pads by wrapping them in a plastic bag and putting in the freezer for a few hours. Then put the cover back on and apply as necessary.
While I was making these I thought 'I wish someone would make one of these for me,' then I remembered that I had plenty of spare rice and fabric. So I made one for me. I particularly like to use it when my back or shoulders are aching. Or in the winter when I have cold feet.