I was informed by Girlfriend Down the Street yesterday that she had been waiting on my post of the The Project for some time now. She's quite the sassy thing, that Girlfriend. We were both at the elementary school to see awards day for our children and we always have a good chat fest when we see each other.
A few months before Christmas, the Crafts and Conversation program was running at the base Chapel. As usual, Neighbor Debbie and I were constantly on the look out for an affordable project for the ladies to do on Thursday mornings. I have to hand it to Neighbor Debbie....she is the Craft Queen. When it comes to C & C, I have always said she was the brains and I was the mouth behind it all. I can't tell you how many hours we sat on the computer looking up ideas and passing links back and forth on yahoo messenger. Between us, there's probably a hundred plus sites bookmarked with ideas.
One day she asked if I had ever seen any rice bags. The kind you warm up and use as a sort of heating pad. I had, indeed seen them and always contemplated getting one but didn't want to pay the high price. She discovered in her research that rice really wasn't the best choice. It can hold moisture badly and will eventually end up getting mold in it. Dang. BUT, she continued, it had been discovered that another ingredient worked really well. Wonder what it is? Deer corn. Deer corn is the bag of corn you can buy at sporting goods, hardware, and Wal*art. It's used to bait a certain area to attract deer so they can be shot and killed. Barbaric, I know.
An idea was born to use that corn for good instead of evil. (really not evil to me, I'm from the South and used to stuff like deer hunting and such)
With the economy being so bad, we decided to make some of these for ourselves as Christmas gifts. Right at Thanksgiving, Crafts and Conversations was shut down to lack of funding and that left us with time on our hands! (a right scary thought)
We headed to one of the last Super*Wal*arts that still carry fabric down in Florida to see what our choices in fabric were. Some scraps were found at less than .75, so we grabbed those. I found some table napkins on clearance, 2 for a buck.
We were set to make some heat bags. I've never been one to use a sewing machine, but Neighbor Debbie trusted me to be careful with her baby and she patiently taught me how to sew the bags. So many mornings we spent at her house drinking coffee, sewing, putting corn in bags, and high five'ing each other when something came out looking good. We were right secretive about it, too, to all our friends. When asked what we were up to, we'd become all secret ninja and evasive. (Guess what some of our friends got for Christmas?)
What started out as simple neck bags evolved into so much more. I believe the idea was born when Neighbor Britt had need of some heat during "that time of the month". Most women who have a hard time with cramps know that a little heat can hit the spot and help so much. So, we made Aunt Flo Bags. Neighbor Debbie's son, Sean, was hurt at school when he fell face first into the bleachers in the gym. Bless his messed up nose and eyes. What he needed was a bag to conform to his face that would put blessed healing coldness there. I saw some scraps from our neck bags that looked like 4 inch squares. I asked why couldn't we sew those and make Boo Boo Bags to put in the freezer. We did. They work wonderfully! That made me think of my daughter and mother in law who get migraines and have to have something cool over their eyes. Why couldn't we make Migraine Bags? We did. Neighbor Greg was our willing subject. He was sitting on the couch playing some Tiger Woods and I would ask him to lay back so I could check width and length of the material as we were flying blind on measurements. I must have done this a half dozen times and he never once complained (to my face! ha ha) I thought of my brother in law who has very severe back issues. Why couldn't we make a bag large to cover a larger area to provide more heat relief? We did.
My biggest question was......this is corn....you warm in the microwave. Wouldn't it pop? More research showed that it was not prone to popping. Jordy let us know quick like when her daughter put hers in the microwave that 3 minutes was not a good idea. Apparently, they're not prone to popping at the 2- 2 1/2 minute range. Hit three minutes and you got trouble. Good to know!
Neighbor Debbie decided to go the extra mile. The bags for the corn is made of muslin. We made pillow cases to go over the bags so they can be washed. Think about it, would you? You warm it over and over and put it on your neck or back. Those places sweat. And stink eventually. Having a protective bag you can remove to wash makes life a little better. This also applies to the Boo Boo Bags if they get a little bit of blood on them. The bags are 100% cotton (very important detail so they won't melt in microwave) and very low maintenance.
This is the bag of deer corn you can buy at the store. We were always sure to sift it and make sure any trash was removed. Oh...be sure not to get scented. The apple flavor/scented ended up feeding a huge family of deer in my back yard. I never really smelled it, but Neighbor Debbie said it smelled like "butt". The deer surely enjoyed it and I spent a couple of days at my kitchen window in the early hours of the morning sipping coffee and watching them eat.
To the right are the many bags we made. This would be the plain bags with muslin material. They are sealed/stitched closed and waiting on cases.
As you can see, sewing the bags closed with corn was on the hard side. We would use stacks of them on the side of the machine to help us. Many cups of coffee were consumed while doing this. I find it funny, too, that we both had to take our shoes off in order to mash the pedal to sew.
Ladies and Gentlemen...this is your tax dollars being spent wisely here. Neighbor Debbie and I suffered greatly through the first dozen bags trying to get that corn in without spilling it on the floor. The household kitchen funnels we had were too small for kernels of corn. Oh, how frustrating it was for the person trying to get that corn in an itty bitty hole. Neighbor Greg was working shift work (hold one while I hum a bar or two of that Kenny Chesney and George Strait tune, would you? Thanks!) at the time The Project was going on. Mostly, he would be playing some Tiger Woods and occasionally conversating with us. (I know the word "conversating" isn't a recognized word, but it really should be.) He heard us struggle with that corn. At one time, he got up, walked over to the desk where we were working and, by golly, he whipped up a paper funnel that made our lives so much easier. I told the Chief that I now loved him and we were blessed to have The Nuclear Funnel. Why that name? Because in military speak, he's a "nuke" (like The Man). They are a rare breed, those nukes. Neighbor Greg gets FULL credit for helping his wife and neighbor keep their sanity while in the creation process. Please note that there will be no pictures of me and Neighbor Debbie. We were not dressed for the Glam Society on those mornings. It was all about comfort and work.
This is a sampling of the heat bags. The middle ones are the Aunt Flo Bags. That material would be the napkins I found on clearance. The race car material was found on clearance and we really liked the boy theme it gave. Neighbor Debbie had the flannel material in her stockpile of fabrics, so the men were able to get manly looking bags. Add in some pink flannel we found for the girls and we were on a roll!
Aren't these adorable? These are our Boo Boo Bags. They are stored in the freezer in Ziploc bags so no moisture gets in the corn. We made boy and girl themed so everyone would be happy when using them. Nothing fancy at all, but very functional.
We were very pleased with how The Project turned out. We have plans to make more and I'm contemplating on doing a give away here on the Edge (after I consult with my crafty partner). There is already another project in the works and it involves power tools! Yeah, baby!