I know.  It’s been over 5 years since I last needed baby blankets.  But of all the baby items we’ve had to sort through as the boys have gotten older, the hardest for me to let go has been their swaddling blankets.  It’s one of the first things you learn as a new parent.  How to nail the swaddle.  And it becomes a contest to see if you can wrap them tight enough that their little bitty arms don’t wriggle free while they sleep.

No?  Wasn’t a contest for you?  Well, it was in our house.  It usually involved Jason swearing grunting while he tucked that blanket within an inch of its life.  And then standing back, breathless, admiring his work, and declaring “Bam! Now that’s a swaddle.”

Some of my sharpest memories from the earliest months with our boys involved those blankets.  Ours weren’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination. They came in a 3-pack from Target.  Still, I can’t part with them.   But what can you do with them after your kids grow out of them (which happens, by the way, in about 3 months, tops)?   They’re tiny.  And after the excitement of, say, having your three-year-old wrap their own baby doll (or in our case, baby pig) in the blanket, there’s not much that can be done with them besides fold them and stack them in a closet.

Heat Packs

I finally decided to make ours into heat packs.  There is almost nothing I like more in the Winter than hunkering down under the covers with a heat pack.  I was writing down the things I like about Wintertime a few weeks ago and heat packs were the first thing on my list.  Our current heat packs were looking pretty worse for wear, having survived about 4 Winters and the boys and I were fighting over who would get the big one so I decided it’s time for a fresh batch.

Here they are…

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And here are the boys back in the day…

Gryffin just up from a nap, with the blue one. Gryffin: 1, Jason: 0

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Isaiah in the 3rd blanket — the white one, which I decided wasn’t optimal for a heat pack since you can’t wash them unless you make re-moveable covers. Which in hindsight… ah well!

You can’t get an easier sewing project.   Just cut 2 pieces of the size you’d like, put the two pieces right sides together, and sew around 3 of the 4 sides.  Trim your corners if you want and turn them right side out.  Fill with however much rice you want and then turn under the final side and sew it up.

You can top-stitch the whole thing if you want but depending on how much rice you filled yours with, it can be tricky.  I top-stitched one and had to use a zipper foot to do it.  The rest, meh.  They’re good as is.

Other ideas

If you live in warmer climates and heat packs don’t sound as awesome to you as they do to us, you could make lavender pouches, a fabric banner or get crazy ambitious and cut them into scraps for a really big blanket.