Being 7 months pregnant I am allll into the things that make me feel cozy and relaxed at the moment. Every preggo has her list of ailments, so anything that can add a few moments to the "self-care" routine are much appreciated. Sore back and neck muscles are certainly not limited to pregnant ladies though, and I've always wanted to have one of those rice heating pads around the house. So now seemed like the perfect time to make that wish appear! If you haven't seen or made one before, it's basically a pouch filled with uncooked rice (and usually something that smells good too), and you can stick them in the microwave for a moist heating pad that lasts a good while. I also figured if I'm going to make something, why make it regular when it can be a kitty, right? Much cuter to have around the house and just makes me smile to look at too.
-1 yard cotton fabric (don't use any fabric with metal or metallic decorative threads in it)
-3-4 pounds of uncooked rice (Don't use instant rice, it might cook itself!)
–essential oil of choice (optional)
–embroidery thread in pink and black
–heat erasable pen (optional)
–kitty rice warmer template (right click to download)
Pin the layers together, and then sew the body with a 1/2" seam allowance and the head with a 1/8" seam allowance. Make sure to leave an opening of a few inches to turn them back right side out again.
Cut some "v" shapes into the curved ends on your head and body to help the seams lay flat, and turn your shapes right side out through the openings you left. Press your shapes flat with an iron and sew up the head opening with a hidden stitch.
Use your embroidery thread to add a nose, mouth, eyes, ears, or whiskers to your face (I used an iron-erasable pen to get my face right and then the iron heat removed the marks when done). Use a needle and thread to tack your head onto your body right above the front paws. I also added some paw lines to the paws at this point, but if you want the thread to not come through on the underside of the paws, then embroider these on your top layer before sewing the two body cutouts together and you won't see them on the bottom side. I didn't add a tail to my kitty, but you could definitely do that as well with embroidery thread before sewing your layers together too.
Once your kitty is ready to be stuffed, pour 3 pounds of rice into a bowl and add in 5-10 drops of essential oils (on the lower side for stronger scents and the higher for lighter scents), mix together, and spoon or pour into your body opening (try a funnel if you have one). Fill it to your liking, adding more or less as needed, and then sew up your opening with a hidden stitch when done. Heat in the microwave for 60 seconds or so until warm, and relaaaaaax!
I mean, I love any time I can make a kitty version of something, but this is definitely a product that's just plain useful as well as just plain cute. You can use whatever essential oil you want, or I've seen people make these with dried herbs and flowers for the scent too. This shape is great for your neck and shoulders, but you could make a larger rectangle "fat cat" version for a back or belly heating pad as well. Actually, all this work making the pillow has got me a little tense in the shoulders, so if you'll excuse me, I think I've got just the remedy for that… xo. Laura
Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.