Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Make Rice & Wool Microwaveable Hand Warmers from an Upcycled Sweater

Here is a quick "how to" for an inexpensive Christmas gift -- wool and rice microwaveable  hand warmers.  Not only is it a present that is absolutely perfect for the chill ridden season, it is also a fun project to get you into that Christmassy mood!   If you don't have a wool sweater laying around your house, head to the local thrift store and give them a sale for the holiday season. :)   Purchase a 75% to 100% wool sweater that is dry clean only (the ingredients for a great felting sweater ;) ).   Next, wash the sweater with some detergent on hot.  Once the washing is done, you should see that the knitting stitches are almost lost in the intermeshing of fibers.  Finally, throw it in the dryer and get ready for a wintery project.
Here is an oversized vest that I felted from my local thrift store.  It came to the store with a few holes in it.  The ladies are smart enough to still put it out for sale, because us wool lovers are waiting to snatch up a deal! ;)  Just think of how many warmers a crafty seamstress could get out of one oversized vest... *sigh*

Originally, my thought was to do two different sizes of warmers.  But after getting the first set made, I decided the second size would be too big for my needs.  So, the template size for my hand warmers was 3 by 4 inches.  Four rectangles will be needed to make a pair.  Place them wrong sides together and fastened them well with pins, since wool has a tendency to shift shape while sewing.

The best thing about this project is that you simply just sew around the outside edge of the rectangle, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.   Start sewing your warmers by going forward and reverse to lock your thread and start to head around each side.  Stop within a half of an inch of the starting point, lock your thread again and cut your piece free of the machine.  Using a funnel (I bought a cheap 3 pack from the dollar store.), fill your little bag 3/4 full of rice (also purchased at the dollar store).  To finish, you can either sew the hole by hand or use your machine.

How much simpler can it be?  (This project would be great for me to  use up some of those sweater remnants that are in my stash.  Yay!)  They are perfect for holding in ones hands, placing in  pockets or sticking inside mittens.  All one has to do is pop them in the microwave for 30 to 35 seconds to warm them up.  I know it doesn't seem that long, but they can get REALLY hot... Trust me.   So, be careful handling them and make sure that they are not damp- prior to heating- in any way.  These of course are not washable but can be cleaned on the surface with a wet cloth.

This particular pair is heading to the home of my younger sister for a test run.  She works for her local school system (First through third grade... YIKES) and her normal routine has her outside with the kids for short periods of time.  Similar hand warmers have been rumored to hold heat for up to 25 minutes.    I will let her put them to the test! ;)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Children's Book Fabric ~ Seuss, Schulz & Berenstain

I hope that everyone had a Spooky and Happy Halloween.  It was dank, misty and cool here.  Thank the heavens that the misty part let up during the bewitching trick or treat hours.  I had plenty of popcorn balls and candy bars waiting for the little ghouls.  It stayed steadily busy and was a fun time getting to see the trick or treators from previous years bring their little ones.  Time marches on! :)
And what have I done on these chilly nights?  I have been catching up with the designs from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  You all know my love of children's books, and Kaufman Fabrics with their rich colors and fine details capture the spirit of some of my favorites perfectly.  I thought I would share a few of my latest purchases...
Fat quarter bundles have not been an area that I have stocked up on, but it is a nice way to get a smattering of a line to throw into a quilt.  A nice solid could be purchased at any time to get the project underway.  Here is a bundle of  "Green Eggs and Ham"  (I do... I do... Love Sam I am!) and "Oh The Places You'll Go".  "Green Eggs and Ham"  is classic Seuss, and "Oh The Places You'll Go"  was one of Seuss' later books that has always struck me as being a reflective look at life in general... an inspiring read.  These fabrics and those that follow will be used for gifts or donations and will have a book to go alongside them.  I am loving these themes! :)

EBay anyone?  This was put up for auction at 99 cents.  It was an untouched package from the Fat Quarter Shop.  It contained over 6+ yards of Berenstain Bear fabric and an additional 3+ yards of plain navy.  The auction ended with my spending  $8.99 total to get the package to my door.  Score!!

I haven't been keeping up with the designs coming onto the market and absolutely flipped over finding this postcard fabric from "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".  The black background makes the gorgeous fall colors pop off the fabric.  Plus... a scene containing my favorite line of the holiday special "P.S.  If you really are a fake, don't tell me.  I don't want to know."  *Priceless*

After finding the tip of "The Great Pumpkin" iceberg, a little more digging found a panel and individual scenes from the holiday special.  You have to see this in person.  The colors are so spectacular, and the large panel with Linus in the middle of the pumpkin patch melts my heart.

The fabric with the sprinkle of pumpkins and the title "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" will be great to mix into the fall themed quilt.  I also spotted some panels of  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that had to come home to me.  My only regret is that they neglected to add a scene of Linus telling the Christmas Story, which I felt was the main point of the program. ** Plus a little added factoid, it was the part of the special that Charles Schulz himself insisted would stay as written, after sponsors requested that it be cut.  Bless him for staying true to his beliefs.  So... if any of my blogging friends know of this scene being produced on fabric,  would you please let me know.  I cannot ever see completing one of these quilts without it.  :( 


Just a little life note...  As of October 1st, I was moved up to full time at my job and given an extra task to take care of during the upcoming year.  The past few weeks have been a boot camp of sorts, but I am happy to report that I have survived, and the scheduler in me should have my daytime work hours running more smoothly.  Yay! 

Meanwhile back at the ranch ;)... I am back to creating in the evening hours and blogging, and it feels wonderful.  I finally have a set schedule!

To celebrate the impending holiday season, I have left the television on the Hallmark channel this weekend, as I move around the house.  They have some fun original holiday programming.  The story lines remind me of the old AMC movies but in color.  :)   A cup of tea, some wool, and a creative project on a frosty Sunday morning is just what the serene doctor ordered.

On a funny note... I took a huge amount of mugs to the thrift store at the beginning of this year but look at what I just had to have from the Dollar Store... I fell in love with it... And the spoon is ceramic, too. ;)