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How do you know when the laundry is done drying?

How do you know when the laundry is done drying?

How do you know when the laundry is done drying? This question, when posed by my friend as she looked at my laundry hanging on the line on the patio, seemed almost absurd. And at first I assumed it had been asked in jest, but […]

Three Simple, Thoughtful (Birthday) Gifts for kids

Three Simple, Thoughtful (Birthday) Gifts for kids

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here. Another birthday invitation… I know I’m supposed to be excited for my child. And on one hand I’m glad my daughter is getting invited to her classmates parties, but on the other hand, attending […]

DIY Animal Silhouette Heating Pillow – Simple Sewing Project

DIY Animal Silhouette Heating Pillow – Simple Sewing Project

Simple, frugal gift for kids - thoughtful, serves a purpose, and doesn't break the bank.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.

I needed a thoughtful gift for my daughter’s classmates birthday party. And because I don’t know the child very well and the parent told me not to worry about a gift, I had nothing to go on.  Unfortunately, my 3.5 year old was not much help either. I decided that I needed a thoughtful, useful gift, that I could put together relatively quickly with the materials I had on hand.

I decided to make a Rice-Filled Owl Heating Pillow, using half a fat quarter, an old flannel pillow case, and some rice.

Simple, frugal gift for kids - thoughtful, serves a purpose, and doesn't break the bank.
Simple, frugal gift for kids – thoughtful, serves a purpose, and doesn’t break the bank.

Because this was a quick project, I don’t have any good pictures of the process, just the final result. But it was a pretty easy project, even for a novice with the sewing machine like myself.

Procedure – How I made a Rice-Filled Owl Heating Pad Gift

Materials:

  1. 8.5″ by 11″ piece of paper to create template – I used card stock so it was didn’t fold as I traced it
  2. Outer fabric – I used about half of a fat quarter I had at the house
  3. Inner lining – I used an old flannel pillow-case
  4. 2 two-inch fabric circles – I used the same old flannel pillow-case as my inner lining
  5. 2-3 cups of rice – to fill the pillow

The entire process took me about 20 minutes, including the time to set up the sewing machine. First I drew and cut out my owl pattern onto card stock. I then placed the template onto my fabric and cut out two owls from my outer fabric and two owl from my inner fabric. I also cut out circles for the eyes. These I positioned on one of the outer fabric pieces and then stitched around it with a dark thread. I used the same thread to sew a small circle into the center of the eyes as well as the outline of a beak.

Then I ironed all 4 owl fabric pieces and put them together into a sandwich, with my outer fabric’s right sides facing each other in the middle of the ‘sandwich’ and with the flannel inner lining making up the outside. I then using my sewing machine to sew around 3 and a half sides of the  owl, leaving about a 2 inch gap at the bottom. Then I carefully inverted the owl, now ready to be filled.

Using a funnel, I added about 2 cups of uncooked, white rice to fill my owl. I used white rice because I had it available, but I’ve used lentils as well. Then I folded over the fabric and sewed shut the opening. Be careful not to fill the animal too full, otherwise it is difficult to sew shut.

An Extension & Customization Ideas

The simple nature of this project means it could done for any animal outline. I am already planning a cat heating pad for myself and a dinosaur for the next birthday.

Because you will probably have both rice and fabric left over, consider making 4″ by 4″ little rice “ice” packs to match.

Overall, this was a very successful little project that will hopefully get some good use. Now I have to make a few more, as the birthdays just seem to keep coming.

Have you or your child given or received any homemade gifts that thoughtful and useful?

One more simple decluttering rule

One more simple decluttering rule

As I continue on my journey to simplify my life, it is often a simple idea or statement that gets me thinking and stick with me in unexpected ways long after I first encounter it. This simple rule to consider while decluttering is one of […]

How we get out of the house on time OR how a simple change in the routine made all the difference

How we get out of the house on time OR how a simple change in the routine made all the difference

Unfortunately, unlike the title implies, we are late more frequently than I would like to admit.  At least these days I can blame it on the kids 🙂 But of course there are times when being late is not just rude, but also causes stress […]

Why we only buy groceries once a week

Why we only buy groceries once a week

Why we only buy groceries once a week.

Saving time was the main reason that moved us towards a Once-A-Week-Grocery habit. But now that we have, I’m finding there are many more benefits.

Why we only buy groceries once a week.
Why we only go to the grocery store once a week.

We buy the majority of our groceries at two stores: Trader Joe’s and Costco. And both stores are about 20 minutes from our house. For every trip we are able skip, we are essentially saving 40 minutes of time otherwise spent in the car driving. And that doesn’t even include the time that would’ve been spent in the store. Since time seems to be in short supply, this was the initial impetus for our Once-A-Week-Grocery habit.

Besides saving time by having a Once-A-Week-Grocery habit, I’m finding there are many benefits I hadn’t considered before we began.

Benefits of buying groceries once a week

  1. Less time spent driving – more time to do other things as well as less wear and tear on the car.
  2. Grocery purchases are more intentional – when going only once a week, a good shopping list is essential.
  3. Meal planning is easier to implement – this is really in combination with #2 on the list. If you are making intentional purchases, you need to know what is going to be served, so you need a meal plan.
  4. Less food is wasted – we have noticed that as we are more intentional in our purchases, less food is spoiling before we are able to use it.
  5. Fewer impulse purchases – even though we still sometimes go ‘off list’, with fewer shopping trips, there are fewer occurrences.

 

Living a Simpler Life

Living a Simpler Life

It seems like everyone is decluttering or minimizing. From Pinterest boards with inspirational quotes about minimalism to books that claim to . Everyone and everything seems geared towards less. And while I admire those that have been able to successfully minimize, I find that for […]

How I earned more than $1,000 online effortlessly

How I earned more than $1,000 online effortlessly

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here. Doesn’t that sound great, almost too good to be true? Earning money online is such a wonderful concept. And the wonderful thing is that this case, it is absolutely true. I have earned over […]

How a $40 item is saving us thousands of dollars

How a $40 item is saving us thousands of dollars

Having young children, we have come to realize that the hardest part about it is that you always seem to be sleep-deprived. Complicating the situation for us was the fact that our mattress was old and lumpy. We resigned ourselves to sleeping on a sub-par mattress until the kids had outgrown morning snuggles and diapers. However, when I was pregnant with #2, we realized that with our co-sleeping habit and my growing belly, we needed to upgrade our queen mattress for a king-sized mattress. While we love our new mattress, we were terrified that one leaky diaper would ruin it. We needed a way to protect the money we were putting into a new mattress. By protecting the mattress we are saving money, since it will last longer.

How we protect our mattress

A cheap way to protect an expensive investment. Thanks for sharing.

So we set out to protect our investment by purchasing a waterproof mattress protector. You are probably imagining a stiff, non-breathable plastic layer, but you couldn’t be more wrong. We found this on Amazon and it works better than we could hope. Once the protector sheet is put on the bed and covered by a regular fitted sheet, you cannot even tell it’s there. It doesn’t seem to trap the heat, so it is comfortable both in the summer and winter. And it has passed the waterproof tests that my children have submitted it to as well. In the past year, we’ve had multiple diaper leaks and actually several bed-wetting accidents on our bed yet our mattress is still pristine.

So if you want to protect your mattress from leaks and spills, get yourself a waterproof  mattress protector sheet. It’s an inexpensive way to protect your mattress.

In addition of protecting our mattress investment, the waterproof mattress protector has also saved us a lot of time. Now when there is a leak or spill, we only have to pull of the sheets and wash them. We don’t have to blot up the stains, attempt a mattress cleanup and wait for the mattress to dry.

This is such a wonderful item to have, that I would encourage anyone to put it on their baby registry. It is not as much fun as cute baby clothing or toys, but it is so much more useful. Let us know if you have other inexpensive *insurances* for more expensive items in the comments below.

 

Simple, Quick & Hearty German Bread, ready in an hour

Simple, Quick & Hearty German Bread, ready in an hour

I moved to the United States from Germany as a child and it was a quite a shock. Not only was learning English difficult, we quickly discovered that the bread you could buy at the supermarket was no Brot.  The hearty  breads I was used […]