Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Here's another gift I'm working on...pocket warmers! They are little pillows that you warm in the microwave and then pop in your coat pocket.
I did a little bit of research and decided to fill them with buckwheat seeds (not hulls). Here's an excellent source www.buckwheathull.com (They even shipped my order overnight to make sure I had it in time. I had purchased hulls from another source before I found out that they are not a good filler for an item to be microwaved. ) A cheaper alternative would be to fill them with deer corn (which is easy to find this time a year...Walmart has 40 lb bags for under $5) but they give off a slight popcorn smell when warmed in the microwave. Buckwheat has a mild odor...I scented mine with a few drops of geranium oil. Whatever you do, don't add dry herbs or lavendar. I did that with my first ones and they (and the whole house) smelled burnt right away.
I made the pocket warmers from sleeves of felted wool sweaters. Whatever you use, be sure to use a natural fiber material. Anything with a polyester content (including some felt) will melt and possibly ignite.
I cut a heart shape from another sweater and sewed it on.
I sewed the bottom of the cuff and then filled it with about 1/4 cup of buckwheat. Then I sewed it shut.
Please be very sure to label your gift with instructions to heat in microwave for just 1 minute. Just to be sure, I tested each pair in the microwave for 2 minutes. It's good to do that for two reasons...to be sure of the safety (maybe you don't know the content of the sweater you felted) and to kill any insect eggs that might be in the buckwheat seeds. The pocket warmers should be warm but not hot to the touch.
If it's too late for you to make these for Christmas this year, wouldn't they make great Valentine gifts?
Here are some sites of interest that I found while researching:
http://www.microwavecornbags.com/index.php?main_page=page_2 (Really great safety stuff!)
http://www.marthastewart.com/268735/homemade-heating-pad (especially the comments!)
http://sassypriscilla.typepad.com/sassy_priscillas_craft/2007/12/martha-stewart.html (yikes! Martha had a pocket warmer project a few years ago using stone pie weights...they got so hot that the pocket warmers ignited! The project and all references to it were removed from the site.