Last year, I instituted "Make It Monday" here on my blog. I featured a different gift that you could make/assemble at home each Monday in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you followed "Make It Monday" last year, you'll recall the Playdough Kit, Family Calendars, Morning Out Kit, Romance Kit, Pizza Night Kit, and Personalized T-Shirts. I hope to continue that tradition again this year. However, since it is "Birthday Season" in addition to the Christmas season here at my house, I'm not making any big promises. But, I'll do my very best to keep it up. If you have any great homemade gift ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section!
Today I'm going to give some basic instructions on how to make a Flax Seed Heating Wrap. This is a useful AND frugal gift. Last year I made several of these for the ladies of the family, and they were a hit! My sister Jamie just used hers over the weekend and her friends were clamoring for their own. The price will depend on how expensive your fabric is and the cost of flaxseed in your area. I figured out that they cost me less than $5 to make last year, but I paid most of that for flaxseed that I got at the grocery store. If you're going to make several, go ahead and buy flaxseed in a larger quantity. Amazon sells Bob's Red Mill Whole Golden Flaxseed in a 4-pack for about $3.25/bag. You can check the internet for other sources, but Bob's Red Mill worked for me. It's also widely available in grocery stores. Just make sure you get WHOLE flaxseed and NOT flaxseed meal.
This gift requires some basic sewing skills, but it really isn't all that difficult to make. I am no seamstress, but I managed to make these successfully. I created separate channels to keep the flaxseed evenly distributed throughout the bag. I like the smell of heated flaxseed (it smells better that feed corn or rice in my opinion), but you could also add dried lavender or chamomile with the flaxseed for a different scent.
To make one of these babies, you'll need:
- fabric of your choice
- matching thread
- whole flaxseed
- sewing machine
- Decide on the size that you want your wrap to be. I wanted mine to be a finished size of about 20 x 7 inches so that they could be draped around the back of the neck easily. Add a 1/2 inch to each dimension for a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side. Cut two rectangles of this size.
- On each rectangle, fold one short end over about 1/4 (or 1/2 inch if that's easier) and press. These will be the ends you keep open to fill with flaxseed and then stitch together at the end of the project.
- Place the fabric rectangles right sides together and stitch down one long side, across one short side and then up the other long side. Keep the short side with the pressed edges open.
- Turn the stiched rectangles right side out and press flat with the iron.
- To make a nice edge, stitch around the same three edges about 1/4 inch in from the edge.
- To make stitching guides for the flaxseed pockets, fold the rectangle lenthwise and press with the iron so that there is a good guideline there. Unfold. Then fold the rectangle in half the other way and press another guideline. Unfold. Then fold the ends in to the center guideline and press them too. You should be able to see eight rectangles with the creases.
- Stitch from the bottom up to the top of the rectangle to create two main channels where you will dump in the flaxseed.
- Fill the bottom two rectanglular pockets with flaxseed. A funnel might make this easier. You want them to be full but not so full that it is difficult to sew that section closed. Figure out the amount of flaxseed needed for your size of wrap.
- Sew from one side of the wrap, over the center seam and to the other edge of the wrap to close off this section.
- Repeat until all of your sections have been filled. To make it easier to sew each section shut, you may want to prop your wrap on a book to support it at the sewing machine's level. Stitch the final section closed and then stitch the pressed ends closed again.
- Include instructions on how to reheat the bags. Make sure to stress the importance of heating in a clean microwave -- you don't want oil or food to get on the fabric and ignite the bag. Just 1 to 2 minutes should be sufficient to heat up the wrap. Since microwaves vary, begin at one minute and then adjust as necessary. Always be sure that the wrap is not too hot before use.
If you're looking for other inexpensive gift ideas, stop by Life as Mom on Friday for "Gifts for $10 or Less" themed Frugal Friday!