for this project, i was inspired by these embroidered bookmarks, but really you could embroider anything and turn it into a top-notch holiday gift (especially for grandparents) - a pillow, quilt square, apron or (in this case), a heating pad. shoshi and i went to visit our friend sara last night after her most recent chemo treatment, and wanted to bring a lil something for her. heating pad it was! i'm obsessed with these - super easy to make, and so cozy and warm. sometimes i heat one up even when i have no aches and pains whatsoever, just to cuddle with its warmth. it reminds me of the days of placing a hot water bottle at the foot of the bed (or better yet, for its old-timey factor, bricks pulled from the woodstove fire and wrapped in a rag). i'm even working on a stuffed bunny (with silky ears) for sho that's filled with rice, so it can be heated up before bed. how cuddly is that? i will keep you posted about my success/failure with that one. anyway, this project!
the part that elevates it from mere heating pad to something far greater is the embroidered portrait of the recipient, drawn by your little one. i had shoshi sketch out a drawing of sara before bedtime, and when she woke up the next morning i had the finished product ready and waiting for her to see. she really does get a little thrill out of seeing her artwork immortalized with fabric and thread, and the person receiving it is pretty much guaranteed to adore it. (possible exception: hitler?)
i cut out a square of fabric and embroidered the portrait in the upper left corner - i think you can use some sort of transfer pen for this, or if your child is older and less taken with flourishes of scribbles all over their completed drawing, you could have them draw directly onto the fabric with a fine marker. in the past i've traced sho's drawing onto a lightweight white fabric, but this grey linen was too dark for that method, so i just glanced at her drawing as i stitched freehand. i used a stiff stabilizing fabric for the back and trimmed around it when i was done embroidering. as an afterthought, i cut out a tiny heart from a scrap of felt, and stitched that onto the fabric as well. embroidery is great - it's mindless and portable, so you can do it while lounging around and still feel like you're getting something done.
to sew the heating pad, just fold the square in half, right sides together, and sew along the three sides, leaving a two-inch gap unsewn. turn the rectangle right side out and iron. stuff with rice, enough so it has a good heft to it but is still floppy. i used a rolled-up piece of paper as a sort of funnel for this step, which made it lots easier. if you have any essential oil on hand (lavender would be nice), now would be the time to add several drops. then sew up the open side, either by hand or on your machine using a zig-zag stitch. i also sewed the opposite side, for aesthetic balance. et voila! isn't it sweet? my two-year old is obviously still too little to really do this craft with me, but i told my friend at work about the idea and her five-year old daughter made a bookmark over the weekend that she mostly embroidered all by herself, with a little help from her mom. ahh...i do love crafty kiddos. start 'em young, i say! and as with any project i post on this little blog, if you end up making this i'd love to see a photo and hear all about it!