Thursday, January 12, 2012

A few more handmade gifts ~ barley hot packs

January 1948 in northern New Hampshire
At our house we love these barley hot packs -- or, as we call them,  simply "barley bags".  They are terrific for soothing sore muscles, cramps, etc.,  or just for warming up a cold bed at night.  In the old days people would heat bricks on the wood stove to serve that latter purpose.  My husband (who is not that old) actually remembers doing this.  Now, heating a barley bag in the microwave can achieve the same result.  You can find the instructions for making them here: How to make barley hot packs.

This Christmas I thought it would be a fine idea to make my two older granddaughters their very own barley bags.  I was right.  They were thrilled and put the hot packs to use that very night.  One hot pack was red plaid:

And one was green plaid:

And I have since made a third one since they thought their mom would like to have one too.

As I mentioned in the directions, I think, over time the barley can take on a scorched aroma.  When that happens, you can open up the place where the bag was hand-stitched shut, dump out the scorched barley, put the empty bag through the washer and dryer, add fresh barley, and stitch it up again.  I just did this with one of ours.  Just like new again!

The pictures can't really convey how warm and cozy these flannel hot packs are.  If it's cold in your neck of the woods, you might want to whip up a few of these!


  1. Those would come in handy here today....very cold and windy! I am settling down with a book, a blanket and a hot drink.

  2. Sounds like the perfect plan for a cold windy day, Arlene! It's snowing here. We had a Halloween snowstorm (which melted), a Thanksgiving snowstorm (ditto), a couple snow flurries before Christmas (ditto) and now this. I'm guessing this one will stay on the ground.

  3. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Mrs. T,
    I have so enjoyed your blog so beautiful.

  4. Welcome, Elizabeth!

    I'm glad you've enjoyed your visit to my kitchen table! Please come again anytime you like. There is lots to see in the archives as well, so come and spend some time here!

    God bless,

  5. Mrs T,
    I think I might try to whip up a few of those barley bags.:)We heat rocks on the woodstove and take them to bed with us on the really cold nights.Each of the older kids have their own favorite rock but I am sure they would appreciate a barley bag as well.:)

  6. Hi Nikki!

    I hope you do try making a few of these. They are very easy to make and so useful. They hold the heat for a long time (though probably not as long as rocks or bricks) and are very comfy indeed on a cold night!


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