Hi! Welcome back! I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the gifts I made for my family this past Christmas. I usually buy whatever gifts I want to buy first, and then with the time I have left, I will sometimes make a few things. This past year I made two rice bags, which are reusable heating pads you can microwave, and an opossum ornament.
When I was in high school or early college, one of my aunts made my siblings and I all rice bags. This might sound like kind of a funny gift, but it’s so very useful. She took cotton muslin and sewed a bag, filled it with dry rice, and sewed it shut. Then she made a little cotton pillowcase for it. You can’t wash the rice bag itself without ruining it, but you can wash the little pillowcase whenever necessary. Just make sure you use cotton fabric or a similar natural fiber that can be microwaved without melting.
These rice bags, which are about 7″ x 10″ (17.5cm x 25.1cm), can be placed in the microwave and heated for about two minutes. They’ll then stay warm for quite some time, and when they begin to cool, if they are right next to you, will pick up some of your body heat and stay pleasantly warm. They’re great for muscle aches, cold feet, cramps, or hugging if you feel chilly. While they may not be a flashy gift, in our house at least, they are one of the most used. This year I made two. They were very quick and easy to sew.
One of the other presents I made was this cute little opossum ornament, designed by Aimee Ray.
I had heard her speak on an episode of the Behind the Seams podcast, and checked out her blog and two Etsy shops, one with paper goods (little dear prints), and one with embroidery and sewing projects (little dear). Everything was fun to look at, but her cute sewn and embroidered animal patterns were my favorite. We have been watching a lot of “Critter Vision” on YouTube during the past nine months and have fallen in love with the opossums that come to the feeders, so when I saw Aimee’s pattern for an opossum as part of her “Pesky but Sweet Animals” collection, I knew my husband needed an opossum ornament.
I started this project kind of late in the game and didn’t have the type of felt used in the sample (or any craft felt, actually), so I dug through my scraps for some felted wool bits and found just enough to make this little critter using parts of a felted shirt, scarf, and blanket. Luckily, I had some embroidery floss and stuffing on hand. It was so much fun to make that I immediately started looking at some of her other patterns. I’m not great at sewing under deadlines, so I opted not to make any more ornaments this year, but recently bought her “3 Panda Bears” and “Winter Animals” patterns to use for a craft day with one of my kids.
After finishing the opossum, I ran a little string through the back and attached a tag so I could add the year and who it was for.
I was so excited to give this to my husband, and I think he really liked it!
The rice bags were also much loved and appreciated, so it was a win all around. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to sew a million things for Christmas, and these were just right–easy, fast, and fun.