Need instructions to sew hot/cold packs made from dried beans or rice and aromatic herbs for neck or muscle aches. Have some time during surgery recovery to make these as thank you gifts.
Rosemarie from Tampa Bay, FL
I put some rice in an old "unholey" sock and tied a knot in it. Of course it's for my own use not for a gift. Microwave for about 1 minute or less. Test the heat before placing it on the sore area.
I like making small items of this sort out of bandannas. They are easy to work with and there are no raw edges to worry about. You can put rice with a little lavender for relaxation.
Fold the bandanna in half and stitch all the way around the open edges. Then fold again and stitch to make your tube then put the rice and lavender inside and close by machine stitching.
These can be decorated with ribbon or lace.
You can also use the soft pajama fleece. You can get this in really nice prints and florals. Have someone check the remnant table at the fabric store. Bandannas are about a dollar twenty nine. Some of the dollar stores have several colors of bandannas. Dollar General has a really nice grade of red and blue bandannas.
I have always used these hot. I don't know how the rice will react to being placed in the freezer. Maybe someone else can help with that.
There are crystals that you can buy online for the cooling ones. I can't seem to find the link right now, but when my Jaycees troop made them for the soldiers we had Googled "soldier's neck wrap" or something like that. (09/04/2007)
I make and sell the rice bags. I use fleece and cut a square 10 inches by 10 inches. Then put right sides together and sew leaving a space to fill. I turn them and fill with rice sew up the space and I sew 5 knots with yarn or embroidery floss. I put one in the middle and space 4 around the square, this makes it so the rice dosen't all stay in one big space. You microwave them 2-3 minutes for hot and put them in the freezer for cold. With fleece you get a moist heat. I have a bad back so the square is nice on the back. Enjoy.
Dameemag from Rothbury, MI (09/04/2007)
You can also use feed corn, sold at feed stores. It has more weight than rice and I understand doesn't have that smell that comes from a rice bag. I bought men's cottons socks (they were the cheapest that were all cotton) and filled them with rice. As they were dress socks they have a curve in them already that makes for a nice neck warmer. I use them in the winter for our outside kitty's house under his towels, in my daughter's bed to heat her up (I don't like electric blankets for kids) and for me.
I'm going to try corn this year as the rice can really start to smell like, hmmm, well it's just a microwaved dry rice smell. Good luck though, they are awesome gifts. (09/04/2007)
We've used finger towels for these before. Just fold in half and sew as the other posts have said. As for the crystals for the cold ones, they're sold in the garden department at you local "discount" department stores. I can't rightfully remember the commercial name, but it's a crystal you put in a vase/pot; dampen and plant your plants in without soil. The only drawback to this is it has to be wet and wrung out to be used.
You can make your own freezer pack with regular rubbing alcohol and water (mixed approximately in equal parts) in a heavy duty freezer bag. The alcohol won't freeze, the water will. Play around with the ratio to get the consistency you like. (09/05/2007)
As far as hot packs are concerned, I use an old white tube sock and empty a bag of white rice into it. You can fill it as full as you wish to make it more firm or more flexible. Secure the end of the sock with a rubber band. When you need a hot pack, simply heat it in the microwave for a few minutes and it's ready to use. It can be reused repeatedly. It smells like rice pudding while it's warm (yummy).
As for an ice pack, take a sponge and saturate it with a 50/50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol. Place this in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag and place in freezer. The alcohol will keep it from freezing solid and keep it pliable enough to wrap around a skinned knee or whatever. These can be refrozen and reused countless times. They make sponges and Ziploc bags in such cute designs now that you can make really cute ones. (09/05/2007)
I used to make and sell these. They are great. Mine were made in a variety of shapes and sizes using 100% cotton quilting material or 100% cotton flannel. I used cow corn for the filler. It is cheaper than rice, about $6 or $7 for a 50 lb. bag. When new, they smell like popcorn and are a bit moist which is great for aches and pains. Eventually they start to dry out, but then I just dampen a washcloth or kitchen towel to wrap around it for moisture.
Warm them and toss them under the sheet while you are getting ready for bed and you will be snug as a bug when you hit the sheets. My kids keep several sizes in zipper bags in the freezer for ice packs, as they are flexible and hold the cold for a good long while. (09/07/2007)
I add dried lavender which is a very calming smell. This completely covers the nuked rice odor, which isn't too bad to begin with. I have also used dried rosemary, but I'm sure you could use any herb. Even at the Whole Foods market lavender is only 19.99/lb which ends up being really inexpensive. A little goes a long way.
For the person who didn't know how well rice would work in the freezer:
A flexible ice pack can be made by filling a plastic resealable bag with rice and placing into a freezer. They work well, because they are flexible. However, they do not stay cold for long (maximum of 30 minutes), so I recommend making more than one. It is always beneficial to have multiple ice packs available anyway. Good luck. (01/09/2008)
Enjoyed all of your suggestions very much and thank you. I have two bad bulging discs in the back of my neck. I use moist hot packs. I make my own and use a black tube sock filled with beans and knot the top. I use black as the white shows everything and I am a neat freak so black does not show the soil as much.
I use a sock over a sock so I can wash the outer sock without bothering the beans. For bulging disc people only moist heat helps my neck, dry heat will make it worse. If I'm in much pain I use cold first then put the heat on after about 10 minutes of cold. It stays warm for a long time, too. Works great for me. (01/27/2008)
By Sandy B
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