Sunday, January 31, 2010

Super Easy Puppy-Warmer! (Or Human-Warmer!)

This week I am taking a break from the E.A.T World challenge to share a very easy craft project with you. First, let me introduce to you the formerly-cold puppy who inspired this project - meet Squirmy Wormy:



Squirmy Wormy (that is his witness protection name) is my mother in law's furry companion. When it's warm outside, he loves running around like a wild dog, attacking fallen leaves, and sniffing along squirrel trails to his nose's content...



But when the temperature gets low, the poor little wiggly monster needs a little help staying warm. Enter the Super-Easy-Puppy-Warmer:

Rice Filled Bed Warmer (Trying to sleep)

There are lots of tutorials for microwaveable rice heat-packs/bed-warmers. I used this one as a guide. It's beautiful but it was a little too advanced for me to follow too closely. This very simple tutorial also helped a lot. And this one is also extremely easy, and so pretty! Because of my limited sewing skills, I made this microwaveable bed-warmer pretty much the same way I made those cat body-pillows for the shelter a few weeks ago.

Let's start, shall we?

Step 1- Start with two square or rectangular pieces of fabric. Make them as big or as small as you want the bed-warmer to be:



Step 2- Place one piece of fabric on top of the other and stitch them together, sewing along three of the sides. Leave one side open:



Step 3- Now that you've made a little bag, flip it inside out:



Step 4- Pour uncooked, long-grain white rice into the bag. Mine is half full, but I've seen some that are filled almost to the top. I just didn't want it to be too full and stiff in case Squirmy Wormy wants to sleep on top of it:



Step 5- Sew along the bag opening to seal it up. You will have to make a hem, and if your skills are as limited as mine, you might find this "How to Make a Simple Hem" article very helpful.



You're done! That was easy! The stitches aren't pretty but they are reinforced and sturdy, and that's all that matters.



Squirmy Wormy is a compulsive bed scratcher, so I cut up an old pair of pants (my readers from the U.K just chuckled) and used the fabric to make a protective case for the bed-warmer. It's a thick material, so he can scratch all he wants and the fabric won't rip. And it's a boring gray color, so it's not flashy and toy-like.

Rice Filled Bed Warmer (Stop taking my picture and go away!)

I made the gray case the same way I made the green rice bag, up to step three. The case is a few inches bigger so the rice bag can slide in and out easily when it's time to heat it up in the microwave. Why didn't I just make the rice bag with the thick gray material instead of making a case? Because the gray material isn't 100% cotton and I wanted to be safe. (more below)

Rice Filled Bed Warmer (Zzzzzzzz)

I am not a professional crafter or a pet expert, so use your own common sense and judgement, and do your own research if you decide to make a bed warmer for your pets... or for yourself!

General precautions and ideas that I gathered from the interwebs:

* The fabric that you use should be 100% cotton or another non-synthetic fabric that isn't a fire hazard when microwaved.

* I've read that it's best to put a mug of water in the microwave along with the bed warmer to keep the rice from drying out. This is what I do, just in case.

* Always carefully test the temperature on yourself to avoid burning your pup or kitty. Squirmy Wormy's bed-warmer takes 90 seconds to reach the right temperature. You will have to experiment with yours until you figure out how long you need to heat it up. Start with one minute and if it's not quite warm enough try microwaving it in 30 second increments until it's just right.

* If the bed warmer gets wet for any reason, cut the pouch open, throw away the rice, dry the empty pouch completely and refill it with new rice.

* Some people use feed corn (not popping corn!) or dry cherry pits instead of white rice as fillers.

* Keep an eye on your dog or cat when they're using their bed-warmer. The first time Squirmy Wormy saw his bed-warmer, he attacked it and scratched it and tried to use it as a chew toy for a few minutes, then he got over it.

Is that it? Did I remember to say everything I wanted to say? Probably not. I will update this post if I remember anything else. In the mean time, check out this human-warmer that I also made. Meow!

Bed Warmer (for humans!)

More E.A.T World coming up next week! Who wants to join me on a trip to Denmark? :)

20 comments :

  1. AWE-SOME! And that is the cutest photo of him being a wild man outside.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is way cool, but I don't want my dogs to see it, or they'll think I'm neglecting them by not making bed warmers for them too :)

    Great idea though, especially for those pups sensitive to the cold weather. And I love the photos - the cuddling up ones are sweet, and the one of him on a mission outside is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aww what a little cutie pie :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. So amazing! Little SW ("witness protection name"--ha ha!!) is so adorable in his bed. And clearly, he LOVES his warmer! :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think I need to make one for myself! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the photos of SW! Cool post. My little dog would probably like a bed warmer, and I was even thinking of making her one until I remembered that the sewing machine is in Wisconsin and I'm in Seattle. Oh well, I guess she'll have to keep depending on her human warmers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am totally terrible at sewing but I need to show this to my Mom. A. She has kick-ass sewing skills and B. she has a puppy, too and it's really cold in Germany right now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Squirmy Wormy is one lucky (and warm) pup! Awww!

    I'm with Mike on this one, I better not let my kitties see this post or they will feel very neglected (by their pet human who has an entire room full of fabric, but is too lazy to sew! Eep!).

    See you in Denmark!

    ReplyDelete
  9. SW fast asleep with his little bed warmer - could there be there a cuter pic?!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lisa - He is a wild one! It's hard to take non-blurry pictures of him because he is always in constant motion. This one was a fluke! :-)

    Mike - Don't worry, I won't tell Otter and Maya about the bed warmers. Poor Squirmy Wormy is very sensitive to cold weather, he shakes like a leaf! He's lucky he doesn't live in cold Fargo! :-D

    Michal - Isn't he a cutie patootie? He is accepting belly rubs at the moment, if you're interested! :-D

    Ricki - He does love his bed warmer! I'm not sure why he's on the witness protection program, he ain't talking! :-P

    Jes - I think you do! They are great to warm up and to alleviate little aches and pains. I love mine! :-)

    Andrea - You can make them with long socks too, then you only have to sew up a small opening by hand. I bet your dog loves her human warmers though! :-)

    Mihl - I managed to make this and I am not good at sewing either! I hope your mom can make a awesome warmer for her little pup! :-)

    Becks - As long as they have radiator beds they won't hold it against you! See you in Denmark! :-)

    DJ - That's the only way I can get non-blurry pictures of him! At least when he is sleeping he isn't moving... much! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  11. great idea and squirmy wormy is the cutest!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love it. I need to make one of these for our Maggie girl. Zeke sleeps on our bed and steals the covers, so he doesn't need one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. squirmy wormy = the cutest! i love this idea, River! the puppy-warmer is just too awesome! i love that it's pretty easy to make, and thanks for including all the tips & notes. our dog julie likes to scratch her bed as well; she also makes little circles before she lays down on her bed - cracks me up! looking forward to the trip to Denmark! yay!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're so clever! I really ought to make one of these for my Oliver. I have some cute fabric at home that I think would be perfect and that I am 99% sure is 100% cotton.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sal - Isn't he a cutie? And you know what the best thing is? He isn't a yapper. You know, like most chihuahuas are? *yap yap yap*

    Krys - Aww, human warmers are the best! Zeke is one lucky, cover-stealing pup! :-)

    Jessy - You're welcome! Aren't those little circles they make adorable? I'm not sure what it is that they are doing when they do that, but it sure is cute! :-)

    Kelly - I'm sure Oliver would love a bed warmer! Squirmy Wormy gave it his seal of approval! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the socks idea!

    I'm commenting again to tell you I've given you an Honest Scrap award for writing such an informative and entertaining blog. Details on my last post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Andrea, thank you so much! How sweet! I'm glad you find my blog informative and entertaining, I often find my own blog posts boring so it's really nice to hear that you enjoy my ramblings! :-)

    I'm checking out your Honest Scrap post now...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awesome kraftiness. Squirmy Wormy is too cute.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jeni - Squirmy Wormy says thank you... and asks for a belly rub. And a treat. And a fuzzy toy...

    Melisser - Squirmy Wormy says that Strummer needs one indeed! I think they are in cahoots with each other, it's probably some sort of Chihuahua code.

    ReplyDelete