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STRESS BAGS
I make them with material and fill with rice. You heat them in the microwave and put on tired aching muscles or around your neck to help that stress headache go away. You need a piece of fabric about 15 inches long and 6 to 7 inches wide. The best types of fabric are cotton or towelling. Fold material in half and stitch around the edges leaving the end open. Tuck edges in and stitch down the middle of the bag. Fill each tunnel with rice (not the quick cook type). Stitch the end closed. To use warm : place in microwave for 1 or 2 minutes. Check as temperature depends on your microwave. Or to use cold - place in ziplock bag and put in freezer for 2 hours or more.

Rice Bags
Here is the way I make them
        Inner Bag
        Cut a rectangle 9" x 18" out of 100% cotton muslin (blends may melt in the microwave.
        Fold in half and sew a 1/2" seam as shown at left. Be sure to leave opening in top for filling. Fill bag 2/3 full of rice (must be raw rice not instant) Stitch opening closed.
Bag Cover
        Out of 100% cotton (I like flannel) cut one, 10" X 20" rectangle. Sew up as the Inner bag....I like to Velcro one side closed so you can remove the inner bag and throw the outer bag in the wash.
Using your Rice Bag
        Place your rice bag into microwave and heat 2-3 minutes. The time will vary depending on the microwave. Start at 2 minutes and if its not hot enough increase by 30 seconds till you get the desired warmth. The rice bag should stay warm for about 15 to 20 minutes which is the recommended amount of time for heat therapy.
TIP:
Use a little FO in the bag with the rice to give off a pleasant aroma while you warm away those sore muscles.
Submitted by Paulette

Soothing Heating Pads
These little bags are made from cotton scraps or flannel, and can be filled with almost any natural grain product. When heated for a few minutes in a microwave oven, they warm to a soothing temperature and can be used to relieve stiffness, stress, or headaches. They also make great gifts.
What you'll need:
for the bag:
~ 1/4 yard of plain muslin or cotton fabric
~ 1/4 yard of printed cotton or flannel, or equivalent scraps (a pieced quilt block is nice and decorative)
for the filling: (pick one)
rice (not minute rice) cherry pits, feed corn (not popcorn), whole wheat (not wheat flour), uncooked barley grains, rolled oats
optional filling additives:
lavender, cloves, coarsely broken cinnamon sticks, whole allspice
These grain bags can be made in different sizes depending on their intended use. Make a longer shape to lay over the shoulders and neck, or a square one to be laid on arms or legs, or applied to the lower back. Make your grain bags as large as you want!
Assembly Instructions:
Part one:
The rice bag
1.      From pre-washed cotton muslin, or similar fabric, cut a piece 8" x 22".
2.      Fold the rectangle in half so now it measures 8" x 11" and sew the two longer edges. You can use your serger, if you have one.
3.      Turn right sides out, so you now have a nice little fabric bag. Iron if necessary.
4.      Option: if you are making a large bag, consider sewing channels about every 2-3 inches along the length of the muslin bag in order to give more structure to the bag. This will keep the rice evenly distributed while it is being used. Note: don't sew any closer than 2" apart, as it will be very difficult to fill the bag wih your grain. Leave an unsewn space at the top and bottom of the bag, about 3", to allow the rice to move a little and let you fill the bag.
5.      Fill the bag with about 3 C. of grain (rice, barley, whatever). It should be pretty full, about 2/3 filled, but still have some give to it, like a bean bag.
6.      Sew or serge the end of the bag shut. You may want to turn in the ends so there are no raw edges, and use pins to keep the grain from sliding out on the sewing table. Of course, you can also whipstitch the opening closed by hand.
Part Two:
The Cover
You can use either cotton flannel, a small towel, or regular quilting cotton for the cover: anything that will be soft and comfortable against the skin. Do not use synthetic fabrics, or fabrics with metallics in them. This is going to be heated in the microwave, remember!
1.      Cut your cover with dimensions one to two inches wider than you cut your grain bag, and three to five inches longer. In this example, that would be 9x25 inches.
2.      Lay the fabric wrong side up on your table, and fold over one end about half an inch to hem it. Fold the opposite end over the same way.
3.      Sew both end hems. (separately, not together) 4.      Lay the cover out again, right side up. Take one hemmed end and fold it back a few inches. In this example we should have 2 inches to fold. Finger press into place. Fold the opposite hemmed end over the previous fold, so the hem meets up with the first folded edge, like this:
The length of the cover should be one inch longer than the measurements of the grain bag. If it is not, adjust your first fold so it is.
5.      Sew the two long edges of the cover, being sure to sew through all the layers.
6.      Turn inside out. You should now have something that resembles a fabric sandwich bag, with a flap at one end. When the grain bag is inserted, fold the flap over the open end to close it.
7.      That's it! Remember that the cover can be taken off for cleaning, since the grain inside can't get wet.
Part Three
Heating Instructions:
To use, heat your bag in the microwave for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Alternately, put it in a plastic bag and store in the freezer, for those times you need a cold pack.
The rice retains heat or cold for about 20 minutes. The rice gets a warm, toasty smell when heated. You might notice a slight dampness when the bag is heated, this is just normal moisture in the grain. The bags can be re-heated indefinitely, although you can certainly replace the filling when you feel it is no longer holding warmth. I've had some going for over a year now and they are working fine.
IMPORTANT! Be careful heating your grain pack. Do not heat them more than a minute or two, and be certain the heat is evenly distributed.
Overheating the bag can result in severe burns to the skin.
Submitted by Lorie

Heating Pad Sock
Poem to add to this QUICK and EASY ,but WONDERFUL gift:
This little pillow filled with rice
Is such a comforting device,
Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on HIGH
And kiss those aches and pains good-bye.
Apply it to a troubled spot
The heat will ease the pain alot.
Or warm those little toes, so cold.
You'll find this nice to have and to hold
Or freeze it for awhile,
And fix that boo-boo in style.
Instead of a compress made of ice,
Use this pillow filled with rice.

Use athletic socks or kids fancy socks. Also you can use cinnamon oil or menthol oil in the bags for soothing smells. Tie off with rubber band and ribbon.
Submitted by Heather


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