Saturday, May 19, 2012

Home Made Heat Pads (or cooling pad)

Instead of using electric heat pads, blankets or hot water bottles for your aches and pains, these microwaveable bags are just the ticket! They’re known by a few different terms such as: bed buddies, stress busters, magic bags, corn cozies, rice bags–but they’re basically all the same thing.
These bags serve a dual purpose as you can also keep them in the freezer to use has a cooling pad or freezer pack when needed. If you’d like to learn how to make them, you’ll find a tutorial below along with tips for different kinds of fillers to try and directions on how to use them.

Microwave Heating Pad Directions

No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish your bag to be. Make sure to leave a seam allowance for yourself (about 1/2″).
Some prefer regular square shape bags, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try. These are really easy to make as well as cheap! 

Filler Options

Uncooked rice
Feed corn
Buckwheat hulls
Flax seed
Cherry pits

You can also add the following to the above for a soothing fragrant heating pad: Spices, herbs, essential oils.

Ideas: lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, crushed mint

If using: Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice heating pad filler (such as rice) and let sit in a sealed container for a few days (occasionally stirring). This will help set and distribute the fragrance a bit.

Fabric Options

Cotton: (plain, prints, flannels, denims)
Alternate ideas: old socks (sew or knot end closed), washcloths, old towels
You can also choose to make cozy, removable & washable outer pouches. This is especially nice to do when giving as gifts.
Fabric Ideas: use old towels, fleece, velour knits, pretty fabric prints and flannels (don’t microwave anything other than cotton fabrics). The softer & fluffier & better!

Instructions for Making the Heating Pad

Cut and sew the fabric for the heating pads the size and shape you want (usually a large washcloth size works well).
Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill bag with your choice of filler. Fill the bag about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer. Don’t fill too full though, you want the bag to mold itself around your body when you apply it.
Once bag is filled, sew opening closed either by hand or machine (making sure filler is contained at the opposite side of bag).
If wanting a removable cover, just sew a “pillowcase” idea with your soft, plushy fabric by making it a little larger than your heating pad and leaving an open end (make sure to finish off ends by sewing a hem). Or you can add a strip of velcro to close it. Make sure to never microwave this cover unless it’s content is full cotton. Remove cover to wash as needed.

Filler Suggestion For Headache Soothers

Rice (or other grain listed above) and a mix of:
Dried lavender
Rose petals

Directions For Use

Place in microwave and heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size of bag. Do not leave unattended “just in case” the filler smokes or starts on fire. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside the microwave while heating the bag to add moisture or spritzing bag lightly with water before heating. If you add spices and herbs, this is a good idea to do.
If You’re In a Pinch

If you need a heating pad “now” and don’t have time to sew one, try filling a ziploc freezer bag (make sure it’s the microwaveable kind) 3/4 full with uncooked rice, seal shut. Heat for a minute or two then wrap in a hand towel and use as needed.
You can also fill a clean tube sock, tie closed the open end, heat and use as needed.

These microwaveable heating pads are glorious to use for aches and pains, or just to pamper yourself after a long, hard day–but be careful when removing from microwave and applying to body. Shake bag first, feel around and make sure it’s not too hot and won’t burn, especially when using on a child.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Video: Random act of kindness cyclist says he could not stand by and watch homeless man rummage through bin for food

A random act of kindness captured on a cyclist's head mounted camera has become a viral hit on the internet.

The two-minute video, filmed by telecommunications supervisor Lewis Dediara, 47,  shows him offering to buy a hungry homeless man "anything he wants" to eat from a central London shop.

The YouTube clip has attracted more than 50,000 views since it was posted online four days ago.

Mr Dediara, originally from Nigeria, said today he was "astonished" by the response to his video.

In the clip, Mr Dediara can be seen chaining up his bike after he left a branch of Boots on Regent Street.

He spots the man, dressed in a shabby black t-shirt and jeans, rooting through a bin.

In a rare display of random kindness, the well-wishing cyclist offers to buy him something to eat.

The man walks into the shop and picks up some crisps and a pint of milk, which is paid for by the well-wisher.

Mr Dediara started filming his daily commute in London after he was knocked off his bike for the second time by a motorist two and a half years ago.

He uses a head-mounted camera and further cameras on his handlebars and back seat to snare drivers on his YouTube channel.

He told the Standard: "I was on my way to fly a kite on Parliament Hill and I stopped at Boots.

"I saw this man standing there - he was clearly hungry. When I saw him rooting through the bin I couldn't just leave him there.

"I come from a family where we are raised to help others when we see them suffering.

"I should have bought him more than what he wanted. Next time I see him I'll buy him a burger."

Mr Dediara said that he posted the clip online because "sometimes London is a place where people don't take the time to care for others."

"It is in my nature to help people," he said.

(posted at London Evening Standard)