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How to Make a DIY Bed Buddy (a cozy microwave heating bag)

One of my favorite things when I am cold, achy, or sick is my bed buddy. My older sister got me one a while back and I love it. It even had a nice smell to it when heated, which sadly is now mostly faded. However, lately, whenever I warm it up and snuggle up, my husband somehow manages to get his hands on it and steal it away! So… I thought I would make him one (and perhaps a new one for myself soon too).

At first, I was planning to make it rather simple – sew 2 rectangles together, fill with rice and tada! However there are a few things that I considered:

 

  1.  It would be nice if the rice didn’t all fall to one side or the other and was more spaced out along the length of the bed buddy.
  2. Washing the bed buddy, or at least the outer layer, would come in very handy.
  3.  If I was going to make an outer layer anyhow, it would be nice to be able to use the inserts individually as hand-warmers if needed.

So, after much thought, I came up with this design. Basically, I mbean rice bags and long rectangle with handles and pockets for the rice bags to slip into. Velcro was considered to hold each bag in its pocket, but I didn’t like the idea of it scratching me, so I found another way! I was actually very pleased with how the design turned out and really love the way it looks (even despite my sloppy sewing skills!).
ade 6 small

I hope you like this tutorial. Please let me know if you have any questions and I would love to see what anyone else makes based on this – even if it puts mine to shame! 😉

 INSTRUCTIONS: 

 PART ONE: Making the “hand-warmer” inserts! 

1 2 3 making bean bag hand warmer inserts

This is the easy part. Basically, you are making 6 “bean” bags. Dimensions don’t really matter as long as you make them all the same size. I decided I wanted each one to be about 5″x7″, so I cut 12 rectangles measuring 6″x8″ to allow ample room for seams:

Finished Bean Bag Hand-Warmer Inserts Stacked Filling the Bean Bag Hand-Warmer Inserts With Rice and a Funnel

  1. Cut 12 rectangles from your cotton fabric of choice (I used a dinosaur print flannel).
  2. Place them right sides together in pairs (for 6 total pairs).
  3. Sew around the edges, leaving an opening large enough to turn them right side out again.
  4. Turn each bag right side out.
  5. Top stitch along the edges (I played with my decorative stitches) to give it a finished look. Remember NOT to stitch over the opening!
  6. Optional: Mix rice with some drops of essential oil to give it a nice smell.
  7. Fill with rice. I used a funnel (I don’t know if I could have filled them without it) and put about 1 cup of rice in each bag.
  8. Finish the top stitch over the opening to seal in the rice. As you can probably see in the pictures, I am no expert here. I learned that I don’t know the proper way to turn the corner when using a decorative top stitch, and I ended up with lots of little nests of thread on the corners. Thankfully, I have learned not to get to distraught and decided that it didn’t really matter. The item still works very well, and my husband didn’t seem to mind its imperfections!

 PART TWO: Making the bed buddy with pockets!


This part was much more challenging, but not that bad! And, as a caveat, it was by no means an exact science.

  1. First, I took my fabric and laid out my finished inserts on top. I was aiming for it to be slightly larger than all six of them laid out side by side. This put me at a little over 30 inches, plus extra for seam allowances. Since my fabric was a yard wide, I just used that.
  2. I then hemmed the fabric on each side with a basic straight stitch. I made extra wide hems since I had some extra fabric there. I suppose I could just as easily have trimmed off some of the extra – but where is the fun in that?
  3. I then laid my inserts along the center again and folded the sides over to get an idea of how much I needed to hem the long edges up. My idea (which worked better than I anticipated!) was to make little pockets for each bag and have them held in by overlapping fabric flaps. I wanted the edge of the overlap to be slightly off center, and to make sure the bottom layer didn’t fold up too high and prevent the inserts from sliding into position.

    So… I ended up with the bottom layer folding up about 5 inches (remember, my rice bag inserts are about 7 inches tall) and the top flap coming down about 4 inches too. This creates a 2 inch overlap to secure the inserts. In my final product, the inserts do go in and out, but I may decrease the overlap on future versions as it is a little challenging to take them in and out.
  4. Once you have the fabric lined up, fold over the raw edges along the sides (the total width should be the 7 inches for the inserts along the back + 5 inches for the bottom flap layer + 4 inches for the top flap layer + seam allowance for the hems). Now, hem the raw edges close to the fold and your width should be right about 16 inches total.
  5. If you like, at this point, you can top stitch along the hems you just made.
  6. Before we get to carried away, we need to make fabric loops to hold the handles in place.
    Take a somewhat long scrap of fabric, fold it in half lengthwise, and sew along the edge. Reverse it and you should have a nice fabric tube. Cut it into four equal pieces and iron them flat if you like.
  7. Fold your cover lengthwise such that you have an overlap above where the rice inserts will go. If you want to make this part in the same way I did, you will have the bottom layer coming up 5 inches over top of the inserts, and the top layer over that coming up 4 inches from the edge.
  8. Pin the cover in place.
    Then, fold each of the four handle holders you made in half and pin two on each short end of your cover. You want to position them so that they are between the layers of the cover and stick out enough to thread your nylon handle string through the hole.
  9. Sew the ends of the cover together, ensuring that you also sew the handle loop holders in place as well. You can also top stitch with your decorative stitch over the ends as well to add style and stability.
  10. You are almost done! Right now, you should have a long cover that overlaps on one side to make one giant (and very long and skinny) pocket. The last step is to simply sew dividing lines to make a spot for each of your inserts. Measure, divide that number into six, and mark these spots along the length of your cover. Sew a simple line across the cover in each spot.
  11. Trim all your edges and threads.
  12. String your handle through the loops and tie it off. I used a candle to melt the ends and the knots together so they don’t have even a chance of coming undone!
  13. Insert your rice bean bag hand warmers into the pockets.

Congratulations! You are done. Warm up your new bed buddy in the microwave and enjoy!  Mine takes about 3 – 3.5 minutes to get warm. Try warming yours for a couple minutes and then add 30 second increments until it is just right. Don’t heat it too hot or you can burn yourself!

Have fun making a nice warm bed buddy this winter! Let me know if you do, I would love to see how yours turned out!
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DIY Giant 8′ x 4′ Craft Table for under $90




My project is finally complete! It started as an idea while I was browsing the local thrift store. I had found, much to my husband’s dismay, a set of very awesome looking white cabinets for a total of about $20. Hmmm…those would make an awesome place to store my craft supplies and make a giant craft table too. So, with some moving help from my husband, I became the proud owner of 4 matching white cabinets. There were two with drawers, and two with doors.

It took a little TLC as these cabinets looked like they had been sitting out in a garage or some such place for quite some time, but nothing a little scrubbing and elbow grease couldn’t handle.

I then began to plan out the top. After measuring, I discovered that having two cabinets on each end got me almost exactly to 48″ – the same as the width of a standard melamine board.






Next, I was off to the lumber store:


 – 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4″ melamine board ($40)
 – 25′ of iron on melamine edging ($8)
 – Delivery ($20 – no truck, boo hoo…)


 – And, for good measure, 2 rolls of non-slip shelf liner ($2)

TOTAL COST: $90

Now, for the construction:

  1. Place all the cabinets in the desired spot – 2 on each end in my case. Basically, you just need to be sure that the top is well supported. My cabinets were the perfect width when placed two on each end, so it worked out very nicely.
  2. Place something in the center for a little added support (if needed) – I used a couple wooden shelves I had laying around, with a few boards on top to even out the height. I may have been able to do without this, but I wanted to be sure that the top could support my weightier hobbies like sewing!
  3. Now, because I wanted the top to be removable, I had to devise a way to prevent shifting without using screws or nails. So, I used some of the foam like shelf liner. Cut the shelf liner to fit on top of the cabinets and hot glue it on. I also placed some between the boards in the center to keep them in place as well.
  4. Put the top on! Not a hard step if you have some extra hands. Just make sure you get the top centered on your supports!
  5. Iron on the edging. The edging came with directions, so just follow those. I also used a rubber stamp roller to ensure that it was well adhered.
  6. Trim the edging down to size. My edging was 7/8″, so I had to cut a bit off with an exacto knife. This proved a little tricky, so be careful. I think I took a little more of the melamine top off in places, but since it wasn’t perfect to start, I wasn’t too upset. I will probably work on touching up the edge when I get a chance.
  7. Admire the finished table and start crafting!

 

That was it. Pretty easy. The hardest part was the edging, which as you can see I didn’t get perfect. Also, the melamine board arrived at my door a bit chipped around the edges… so I will probably be working to fix that soon too if I can.
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How To Make T-Shirt Yarn from Jersey Sheets

Save Money! Make your own T-Shirt Yarn!

Browsing Pinterest, I saw an awesome pattern for a rug made of T-Shirt Yarn. Now, I had to make the rug (of course!), but didn’t want to buy the yarn. So, off to the thrift store for some T-Shirts, right!? That’s what I thought anyhow, but once at the thrift store, my friend checked out the used bed sheets section and found twin size jersey sheets. Brilliant! Instead of cutting up a ton of shirts and trying to get them all to match, a sheet or two is much simpler.

DIY T-shirt Yarn From Jersey Sheets

I bought five sheets which went very nicely together and spent less than $10! These five sheets made more than enough yarn for the rug that I made – check it out here.

Now, I had 5 sheets to turn into yarn. A green sheet and two each of purple and pink. Making the yarn turned out to be a fairly time consuming project, but also a pretty simple one.

I was tickled pink that I had gotten my supplies for under $10 and was equally pleased with the colors. It was time to start crocheting and get this done before baby arrived.

How To Make T-Shirt Yarn From Jersey Sheets

Making T-shirt Yarn from Jersey Sheets Isn’t hard.

  1. Buy Jersey Sheets

    First, you need to buy some jersey sheets. I would recommend checking in thrift stores. I was fortunate to find three bright colors that went together well. I used five sheets in total to make a crocheted rug. My rug was about 3 feet in diameter and I had some yarn left over.

  2. Trim Edges of Sheets


    Cut off any seams or elastic. For a fitted sheet, cut the elastic from the bottom edge, it is not critical that this be done perfectly. I happen to think that this elastic would make very cute headbands, but that is for another post!

    Update: I made a headband! Check it out. 

    Once you have removed the elastic, cut the corner seams off, and you will have what looks like a rectangle with squares cut into the corners. The key here is that it should now lay flat.  Diagram of Sheet with Corners cut out

  3. Cut Your Sheet into Strips

    Now, you are ready to cut the sheet into one long continuous strip. First look at the grain of the sheet. You want to be sure to cut ACROSS THE GRAIN so that the yarn will curl on itself correctly.

    Starting at the top, cut across the sheet – you want strips that are at least 1.5 inches wide. You can cut thicker strips if you want a thicker yarn, just be consistent.

    Continue to cut across the sheet, but DON’T cut all the the way to the end. Stop cutting about 2 inches from the end and turn the sheet around. Start a new cut about an inch and a half down from the last cut and again cut almost all the way to the other side.  

    I tried to make a diagram of what it looks like. It ends up zig-zagging through the sheet, and can be a bit tricky where the sheet goes from smaller to bigger width (where you removed the corner seams from if it was a fitted sheet). I marked in purple a bit you may want to cut off, but if you don’t make the widths of your strips quite even, you should be able to use the whole sheet. You will get corners on the ends, you can round these out if you like, just be careful not to let the cut get too close to the edge ( I goofed a couple of times and had to rejoin the yarn).

    Continue cutting in this way. Around the top, it won’t be quite perfect due to the seams you cut out, but it won’t matter too much in the finished yarn.

  4. Ball Your Yarn

    After you have a number of strips cut, you can start to ball your yarn. Take the start of your continuous strip and gently pull it. It should curl in on itself and stretch out a bit. I found this part REALLY FUN (don’t know why…)! After pulling it, you can start to wind the ball. 

    Keep cutting, pulling and winding until your sheet is gone! Then, you have a fabulous ball of T-shirt yarn. Each sheet I had made a ball approximately 9-10 inches in diameter. That is a lot of yarn!

    Have fun making awesome crafts from your T-shirt yarn!

EDIT: Several people have asked me what size hook I used. I used a hook very similar to this Aluminum 10 mm Crochet Hook
and it worked well for me.

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Crocheting up a Storm

Waiting for our baby girl, I have been crocheting in an attempt to be more patient for her arrival!

Here is what I have made so far – click for links to the tutorials and patterns I used:

 

 

Baby Bootie Completed

Baby Bootie Completed

Baby Bootie

Baby Bootie

Baby Sandal

Baby Sandal

Baby Sandals

Baby Sandals

Purple Flower

Purple Flower

Rug

Rug

Rug Close Up

Rug Close Up