November 10, 2014

Tiny Project #3

We walked into the kitchen and I dropped the grocery bag on the chair. Amos wasted no time in exploring the contents of the canvas bag. He pulled out a plastic bag full of unpopped kernels of corn and lost interest in anything else that we had brought home. He dropped the bag on the floor, delighted by the sharp sound as it hit the tiles. Sliding his feet back and forth as he stepped on the bag, he explored the texture of hard kernels under his feet. He picked it up, carried it around, dropping it, squeezing it.

It was a relief to me that this bag of popcorn could keep him occupied for so long. It crossed my mind that the bag would probably, eventually break but after a whiney, difficult, tired morning I didn't care as long as he played happily while I did some of the things I needed to do. While we both continued our activity, I waited for the inevitable scattering of seeds across the floor. With this barely a worry in the back of my mind, I thought of bean bags. If Amos could enjoy a plastic bag of kernels so much, maybe he would like something he could play with all the time. Instead of waiting until sometime later to make the bean bags, why not now?

I grabbed a jar of old popcorn which no longer popped into the fluffy, crunchy treat I can always eat by the handful. The old kernels could go to better use as bean, er corn, bags. It took no more than 10 minutes to stitch the squares together, to carefully fill them with popcorn, and to bind the open edge shut. I tossed each one on the floor behind me and they landed with a satisfying smack. Amos might be more drawn to something out of the grocery bag or cupboard, but this homemade toy has so much more potential. Bean bags are great for throwing when wooden blocks and other hard things are not. They fit into cups and bowls instead of water which is best left in the bathtub. They have a wonderful weight for tossing and catching over and over again. They are the easiest thing to sew and they don't have to be square or even as long as as they are stitched tightly so none of the kernels or beans can escape.

If you don't have a small child, an interest in juggling, or an urge to play lawn games, you can also make a very nice eye pillow by cutting a rectangle instead of a square. If you use rice or flax seeds then you can warm the pillow in the microwave for relaxing treat. Perhaps while your child amuses himself with beanbags?

Cotton fabric
Popcorn kernels, small dry beans, or uncooked rice to fill the bags

Cut two squares of cotton fabric. 4 inches by 4 inches (or a bit larger) is a good bean bag size. For an eye pillow you could cut two 9 by 4 inch rectangles.

Line up the squares with the right sides (printed sides) together. Stitch around 3 sides of the square, about a half inch in from the edge of the fabric (this is the seam allowance). Turn out the square so that the right sides of the fabric are facing out. Pour in enough corn kernels, beans or whatever you are using to fill it about half way.

This part can be a bit tricky. Taking care to keep all of the beans inside, fold the raw open edges down about a half inch toward the inside of the bean bag. Pin or hold the folded sides together and stitch them shut.

Toss the bean bag toward any interested person. Make another if you want.

P.S.  Tiny projects #1 + #2

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