This has got to be one of the greatest handmade gifts in the world.
I've heard them referred to as microwaveable heating pads or therapy bags or microwave corn bags...but I don't think any of those terms adequately convey the feelings of homespun warmth and snuggle-ness that you feel when hugging one of these wonders.
So, I just called them Cozies. And they are the easiest thing to make in the world.
In my family, we've owned three different versions of this bag which we have purchased from different sellers in the past. The fillings have all been different -- rice or millet -- some mixed with lavender and herbs... some not...
And Jack and I race to see who will get to the microwave first to heat them up when we're cold. We also use them to pre-warm our beds at night since we sleep with the house at 58 degrees...brrrr....
They are great for warming you up after you've been out in the cold...and Jack heats one up first thing when he comes in from school. I find them particularly useful sitting and stitching for long periods of time in the winter...Sitting on one of these tends to take the chill away.
I did a little research on what filling to choose when I decided to make my own bags as presents. I found this review by a nurse who wanted to use them for her patients very helpful. She has patterns on the site too but I just wanted a square. According to her review, corn holds heat the longest so it was off to the feed store for me.
I've never been inside of a feed store before since I don't live on a farm and I'm allergic to most animals...so it was pretty fun trying to explain to the guy helping me that I needed a 50 pound sealed bag of feed corn to make microwaveable cozies...he thought I was a nut...a nice nut but a nut all the same.
Anyway, I cut 13" squares out of 100% cotton flannel, sewing up the sides using 1/2" seam allowance, and leaving an opening on one side to fill with the corn. (synthetic fibers are flammable so natural fibers are best) I double-sewed my seams because we have had issues with bags busting open in the past -- mostly when Jack chucks them across the room...Not their intended usage, of course, but tempting all the same since they feel like giant bean bags...
I cut a cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper to slip inside and press my seams...
That was a great little trick.
I made a whole pile of them to give away because you can never have too many...
And I made up these tags to go on the packages too.
I'm really pleased with how easy and inexpensive these were to do. They sell something similar in the kiosk in the mall and last time I checked...they were charging around $20 for this size.
I'm sorry I didn't post about it earlier but I just finished them today. Maybe there's another procrastinator out there who could use the idea? I sewed about 10 bags in 2 hours...start to finish.
Here's to being cozy this Christmas and all winter long!
UPDATE: Here's a link to a tip sheet I created for cozy making. And yes, the fabric needs to be 100% natural fiber so it doesn't burn in the microwave.