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This year we decided to have a lean Christmas.  Everyone is scrambling for extra cash so I told people to either make simple gifts or give coupon books with things like “I’ll do the dishes” or “I’ll cook every night this week” (my personal favorite one).

What I elected to do was make several rice neck warmers.  I had gotten one at a spa recently and thought, gee, I can do that too.  This article will describe my simple process, ideas for which were gleaned from several Google searches, but ended up being my own design to fit what I wanted.

The main items you need are a sewing machine, some fabric, and rice.  In my case I bought packages of kitchen towels at Walmart.  We get them every year to  make crocheted kitchen towels and find them to be sturdy, soft and durable.

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To start off, I cut off the double seamed ends of the towels. Then, I measured 11 inches for my width.

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The standard size I found out on the web was 11 x 22 so my cut down towel was perfect.

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I folded the towel inside out lengthwise.

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Next, I stitched a seam down the open end, curving the edges at the bottom narrow end.

I left one end open.

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I trimmed the corners of the narrow end so it would not bulge when I turned the towel inside out.

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After I turned the towel inside out, I stitched a seam down not quite the middle of the towel.

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By “not quite the middle” I mean one half was a little narrower than the other. It’s not exactly in thirds. I found that the towel, once filled with rice, seemed to lay better if the two sides were not exactly the same width. I made sure the the middle seam did not go all the way to the end of the towel so I would have an edge to turn over and stitch closed.

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Next came filling the sides with rice. I created a funnel out of the top of a quart size soda bottle.

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Inserting the funnel end into one side of the towel, I poured in rice until it was almost full.

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My trial towel worked better if it wasn’t jammed full of rice.

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It needed to be flexible to move around my neck or shoulder. I found filling up the sides leaving about 2 to 3 inches open worked well.

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After filling both sides, I turned in the open end and stitched it closed, backing up over the stitches to ensure I had a nice tight closure. On some of the neck warmers I added a ring of zigzag ribbon to act as a holder. The size of the holder was designed to fit over a door handle.

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How long you put the warmer in the microwave depends on how hot you want the warmer to be. 2 seconds is slightly warm, 3 seconds is starting to get pretty hot. 4 seconds will guarantee a burn on my neck, so try it out starting at lower temperatures till you find the one you like. My husband found out that 4 seconds was too hot for him, but a friend of mine heats hers to 5 seconds. Again, it’s personal choice.

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That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a happy 2013. Ciao y’all.

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