DIY Gifts
by: Lisa K. Anderson Grab a sewing machine, buy a bag of rice and find a large scrap of fabric to create a rice  heating –– or cooling –– pack.

Today The Post continues with its do-it-yourself holiday gift idea series. We will offer one more in the Dec. 21 issue.

Up today are rice packs, which can be heated or frozen to soothe aches and pains, relax muscles or adjust body temperature during hot and cold months.

They are an ideal alternative to electrical heat pads or hot water bottles.

What you'll need for the rice pack:

• A bag of uncooked white rice to fill the pack (other filler options include corn, beans or seeds)

• A large scrap of cotton fabric, preferably flannel

• Herbs or essential oil for fragrance (optional)

• A sewing machine and thread that matches the fabric color

• Scissors


• Determine the size of rice pack you'd like to make, remembering that when you fold the fabric over, sew the perimeter and fill it with rice, it's half the size. For a pack that's long enough to drape over your shoulders, cut the fabric into a rectangle 12 by 27 inches.

• With thread to match the fabric, sew a seam along the perimeter of the rice pack, ensuring the fabric is folded inside out with the backside facing you. Stop when you've gone around three edges and reached the top, leaving a spot to pour in the rice.

• After sewing the perimeter of the rice pack, flip it inside out so the front of the fabric shows.

• Before filling the pack with rice, sew four divides into the length of the pack so that the rice distributes evenly. Alternate sides and spread the divides evenly along the span of the pack, sewing from the edge to the center.

• Add herbs or essential oils to a bowl of the rice for fragrance before adding the rice and sewing up the pack.

• Pour rice into the pack, leaving it only partially filled and testing the weight of the pack on your shoulders as you fill it. The rice should easily travel between sections of the pack and shouldn't feel too heavy. You want it to mold to your body.

• Sew off the top and ensure you truly sewed it off so that rice doesn't spill out.

Once the rice pack is sewn up, create an explanation of the gift with directions for heating and cooling it.

To heat the pack, place in the microwave for 1-3 minutes, depending on the size of the bag and type of microwave.

To cool off the pack, place it in the freezer and check it every so often for the desired temperature.

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