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5/26/11

Make a Scented Rice Bag as a Compress or Bed Warmer.

This heart shaped rice bag is made of pink checked flannel with lace trim and is perfect for a Valentine's Day gift.  It is COLD in February and this is a terrific bed/foot warmer!
Today I read a message from my sister-in-law Darla who I adore, asking me to give directions for a rice bag. I tried to put it on Face book as she requested but it was too long even after I cut as much as I could. then I scanned it and sent it to her e-mail hoping that would do the job.  We love these heated in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes then used as a warm compress or as a BED WARMER!  (Heavenly, just heavenly.)
Scented Rice Bag of Red Cotton Pillow Ticking.

Now it occurs to me since I have invested the time to take it from "just what I do" to "here is how to do it" maybe I should just go ahead and share the method. 

So here you go......my method of making a rice bag.

I usually make them about 16-18" w by 26-28" long to start when I cut them out. SO, you would cut 2 pieces the exact same size OR, if I can double one end or the other to save having to sew a seam I will cut it for example in one piece. Either 32" by 26" or 16" by 52". You then could either fold at the end or along the long side and save sewing one seam. I also have made a lot of these out of scrap fabric and it works just to make it fit sometimes.

Always use 100% cotton of a medium to medium heavy soft fabric. Wash and dry it before you even cut it and press it flat. If you want to be able to wash it you can make the bag out of plain cotton muslin then make a cover for it like a sham. Then just wash the sham. I usually just pitch the bag after a couple of years and make new ones. 

I buy the rice at Sam's club in 25 pound bags but you just want to use plain old cheap rice.

After you have cut the fabric to the size you desire PLACE THE RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER matching the raw edges and pin with straight pins. I always back stitch with my sewing machine to start then sew the seams about 3/8". On one end LEAVE AN OPENING OF ABOUT  5" to use to fill with the rice. BE sure to back stitch either side so you don't unravel. When you have finished stitching turn the bag right side and press it, ironing the 5" opening smoothly under. 

Next I cut a slice to the center of a paper plate and at the center cut a circle about the size of a nickel and fold it to form a funnel and use it to direct the rice into the bag. I staple the paper plate when I get it to where it works for me to direct the rice down into the bag balancing it on my lap. 

It takes 3 1/2 to 4 pounds of rice for the bag. You want to be able to fold and wrap it around where ever you are using it so don't pack it so tight you can't manage it. 

Add lavender flowers, or droplets of essential oils onto the rice and massage in into the rice now if desired. I would use a heaping cup of flowers or 4-5 drops of essential oil. Fold the 5" raw edges under to form a smooth edge and pin the whole end down flat. Shake all of the rice to the other end and then machine top stitch across the entire end of the bag.

Note: I double stitch all of the lines I sew and by that I mean I go back and sew a second line on top of the first one. I do this because the rice is heavy and small and I don't want to take a chance it will work an opening and leak out.

I microwave 5-6 minutes and have warmth for hours, especially under a blanket. If it is a little too warm just wrap it in a towel until it is cooler to the touch. 

ENJOY. 

I have probably made a hundred of these by now.

4 comments:

peggy finch said...

Hi, I also make these lifesavers, but I call mine "Bed Buddies". I use a man's white, long sock,(the kind with no heel). I use 4 cups bird seed and about 2 Tablespoons cloves. Machine stitch the top and insert into the other sock. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes, stays warm for about an hour.

Diane Cosby said...

Thanks for sharing Peggy I will try this too. I love new ideas!! Thanks again.

Hildagarde Carbon said...

I’m sure your sister-in-law will be pleased that you shared this sweet-smelling instruction! But may I know what type of scents you usually use for your rice bag? For my scented bags, I always use stress-relief scents like lavender, chamomile, lemon, orange and vanilla. But from time to time, I use my fatigue-relieving scents like basil and grapefruit. [Hildagarde Carbon]

Diane Cosby said...

Of course you can know the scents I use!! Many many times I have used lavender flowers, that would been the most used.

Other times I have sprinkled in essential oils. I really like orange, clove, and cinnamon all mixed together in the cold months.

Some I leave plain for those with allergy problems. Thanks for asking.