Cold Weather, Warm Hearts

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It is hard to believe we are in February already! I am glad, because I am feeling ready for some spring weather. (Dear, warm-weather readers, won’t you send me some sunshine)? Don’t get me wrong, I do love the four seasons, but January and February bring very cold and sometimes icy weather, and this season has been no exception! At least February is the month of love, with Valentine’s Day! February is a short month, but it is a good month to “nest” indoors and catch up.

January was a busy month for my little family; we were almost thankful for the couple of recent snow days that cancelled daily life for a short bit, just to get a moment to recharge. Here, when it is going to be a big storm, our state is usually well prepared.

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Streets are “salted”, usually with a brine-like liquid, before an impending storm, and as soon as they can, most streets are plowed. Schools and businesses really don’t close unless it is going to be a pretty big storm, so it isn’t that bad.

Pip has decided he prefers summer.

Pip has decided he prefers summer.

Tell us, Scarlett, how do you feel about winter snow and ice?

Tell us, Scarlett, how do YOU feel about winter snow and ice?

However, after the outside temperature falls below freezing, and when there is soooo much snow on the ground, it does get a bit tiring. We can’t control the weather!

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My husband does the plowing and clearing of our long, steep driveway. He also chops our firewood. We heat our home with propane, but in our back room we stay extra-toasty with a wood-burning stove. I am always worried when he comes in cold, from being outside too long. Both of us have warm work gloves to wear, but sometimes we have to remove them to accomplish different outdoor tasks; often just taking the dogs out makes our hands and fingertips cold. I came up with the easiest little solution, to also use scraps from my sewing room! 

Nicole’s Shabby Chic winter porch

I love buffalo-plaid check, and made a few pillows this year for winter for my shabby-chic porch. I envisioned sitting outside, under a blanket, with a cup of cocoa, watching the snow fall. When fluffy, powdery snow is falling, the sounds of quiet and peacefulness are something.

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Using the flannel scraps, I cut two squares, 5” X 5”. With the right sides together, I sewed three sides with a ¼” seam, then used pinking shears, trimming all around. I clipped the corners, too, and then pressed them with my iron on low heat. 

Pinked squares

I turned the “pocket” right side out. I folded the open sides in about ½”, and pressed.

Mix the rice thoroughly with the essential oil drops.

Mix the rice thoroughly with the essential oil drops.

Using 1 cup of dry, uncooked rice, I mixed 3 – 5 drops of my favorite essential oil. I used lavender, but you could use whatever scent you wish.

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This amount of rice is enough for two “pockets”. The idea is to have them flatten out and be shapeable when closed, like a bean bag. I then sewed the top closed. Voila!

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Place them in the microwave for about a minute or so, and you have wonderful, warm, aromatherapy hand warmers, for toasty fingers! They also work great for achy sore muscles, like shoulders or stiff necks. My husband loves them, and puts them in his jacket before he heads out for cold weather chores. While super simple, this works best using flannel like my buffalo plaid check. You could also repurpose an old flannel shirt. An easy craft, they only take a few minutes to make, and make a great little “I am thinking about you” gift.  Warm hearts and warm hands!

Freeze and you have a handy cold pack.

Freeze and you have a handy cold pack.

I made a bit larger square, about 6” finished all around, and used a bit more rice, about ¾” cup with the essential oil. This time, I used Sunbrella outdoor fabric scraps leftover from summer pillows in front of the camper. This time, I placed the finished little pocket of rice in the freezer. It works great for bumped knees, etc, in place of an ice pack. There’s no mess or melting, watery ice, and is ready when first aid is needed. Both hot and cold, the rice packs are reusable – heat and freeze over and over as needed, with no waste or mess. You can also make a more long, rectangle pouch for draping across, tired, achy shoulders, like a nice warm hug! Just make sure not to overfill the pouches so they are pliable. 

While winter can seem long, there is something to be said for beautiful winter skies. I stopped before grocery shopping and snapped this photo of these beautiful iridescent clouds; a friend told me the halo is the result of ice crystals suspended in the clouds. Cool!

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My warm weather friends can say what you want, but there is nothing cuter than little bird prints in snow. These teeny tiny tweety-feety-prints were on my back deck. So sweet!

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I think these prints belonged to the little wild bunny that calls our yard home.

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However, there is a bit of pause when you realize the morning after a snow that the large prints that go from one side of your yard to the other belong to what we think is the “local” bobcat!

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That’s a whole lotta kitty! My print next to the found print.

That’s a whole lotta kitty! My print next to the found print.

They crossed by the closed chicken coop, and down into the woods. Our large dog was on “alert” the night before. GULP!

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Sniffin’ the air…

Sniffin’ the air…

All in all, our 2022 is looking “up”, and we are looking forward to a good thaw. Until then, we are staying warm. The house is cozy, and the Hoosier in the kitchen is “dressed” for Valentine’s.

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I have set out Valentine’s old, and new. Mail in the box is like a warm hug! There’s also a wonderful feeling of contentment when we are all home safe and warm. 

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So, dear readers, I hope YOU are safe, cozy, and warm! Happy Valentine’s Day

Tell me, did you enjoy last month’s soup? Are you doing anything special to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Leave me a comment so I know you dropped by!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 50 Comments

  1. Diana says:

    Loved this article!! Think I’m going to make those buffalo plaid hand warmers. Would be a nice gift for my 92 year old mother-in-law who lives with us. We are in Sacramento California where it’s only snowed once in my lifetime (and I’m 63). But she’s always cold if the weather is below 70.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Diana, I am so glad you enjoyed the post! I hope the hand warmers make your sweet mother-in-law’s hands toasty! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. As a jadeite lover and collector, I love how it looks in the different seasons, with various colors of food and decor. Red and that jadeite green is one of my favorite combos-the colors side by side POP! Perfect for Valentine’s :)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi April, thank you! I totally agree! I am not a jadeite collector (yet, hee hee); I love it, but only have the one Fireking mixing bowl. I love those two colors together, as well. I really loved it at Christmas, too, with all the red. Jadeite is one of those colors that really serves as a great backdrop for other colors and pieces. Happy Valentine’s Day! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Heidi says:

    Hand warmers rock!

  4. Happy Valentine’s Day and stay warm! Spring will be here soon!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Heidi, thank you so much! Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too! Think Spring! Farmgirl Hgus, Nicole

  5. Brenda White says:

    What a great read. I live in Michigan and you’re right. I do love to see the little animal tracks♥️ No bobcats, and that’s ok happy Valentine’s Day. Which is also my 41st anniversary ♥️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Brenda!! Happy Happy Anniversary to you and your sweetheart! WOW! Wonderful! I also love that your anniversary falls on Valentine’s Day…so romantic!! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Lynne Lindsay says:

    Love your Hoosier!! I am thinking about stripping mine back….❤

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lynne, thank you! I was so happy to find one, finally, after sooo many years of searching. I needed a smaller one to fit my space. I always thought I’d find a white one with chippy paint and maybe decals, but found this one. It was an anniversary present from my husband one year. I really love how mine is the natural wood. Let me know how yours comes out if you decide to go back! Sounds like a fun project! Farmgilr Hugs, Nicole

  7. Jodel Guerrero says:

    Live in a lil country neighborhood Garden Farms Atascadero Ca love the simple life here Hubby and I in retirement years we have Chickens live on a tight budget and Love the Lord Thank you for your blogs like a breath of fresh air to me.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jodel! It sounds wonderful where you are! Welcome to the Suburban Farmgirl Blog! I am so happy you dropped by and said hi! Thank you so much; I am so glad you enjoy my posts! It means alot! Happy Valentines to you and your hubby! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Patty Robertson says:

    Love the pictures and the blog. Will be making the hand warmers for my husband. My husband and I are spending Feb. 14th together. Retirement is great.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Patty, thank you! I am glad you enjoyed this month’s blog, and hope your hubby loves the hand warmers you make him! Enjoy your Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. I will be cooking something special for mine that evening. Thanks for “stopping by” and saying hi! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Juie says:

    Thanks so much for the flannel hand warmer
    suggestion. It’s a great idea…(I have lots of flannel) Around here there are children in the rural areas that wait for their bus outdoors for awhile and these “warmers” would be great.

    I always enjoy your blog, full of cheerfulness
    and Happy Energy, not to mention good ideas.
    Hopefully Spring is just around the corner. Happy Valentines Day to you and your family.

    Julie

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie! Thank you! That is a great idea – for the bus! I didn’t think of that. Hopefully spring is around the corner. We got a tiny bit of a thaw today. Took Pip to walk the trails. There was ice all around and only a tiny portion on the trail, so it was a nice break to see a little bit of sun. I think winter comes back full force again next week, but we are almost turning the corner! Think Spring! Happy Valentines Day, my friend. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Deanna Taylor says:

    As usual, I love your articles. It is good to be thankful for little blessings and they are all around us. You have a gift of teaching us to open our eyes. Winter is a healing, peaceful time before the busyness of spring arrives. I must tell you that the ice crystals you photographed are called “sun dogs” out here on the great plains..your picture was beautiful! Stay safe and warm.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deanna, awww..thank you ever so much for such a nice comment! I am so happy that you enjoy my work! That means a lot to me. And “Sun Dogs” – I LOVE that! I never heard that before; thank you for telling me! I learned something new today. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Karen Holderman says:

    I so enjoyed your post. Love the Valentines Decor.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Karen, thank you so much! I am glad that you enjoyed this month’s post. I like to put a wee bit of Valentine’s Day decor out to brighten up the last corner of winter. :) Glad you “stopped by”! Happy Valentine’s Day! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for this informative post. Those hand warmers sound great and useful.
    HAPPY ST. VALENTINE’S DAY
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  13. Donna Kozak says:

    Loved your recent post – I, too, have a Fireking mixing bowl which I love to use ! Happy Valentine’s Day !

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, isn’t it a great size? Not too big, not too small! Glad you enjoyed the post! Happy Valentine’s Day! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Deb says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I enjoyed your pictures and post. Love your porch too and the thought of sitting there with a warm drink and gazing at snow flakes gently falling.
    The hand warmers are really cute and a nice gift. I have put rice in a sock in the past and used that as a hot pack for aches and pains. I am not very good at sewing, so I have found nice grain or rice filled fabric warmers in a local Hallmark store. The smell of cloves and other spices is nice.

    Happy February and Valentines Day
    Debbie

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, Thank you! Snow is coming this weekend again; hope to sit on the porch under a blanket and watch it fall a bit. It’s the ice we don’t care for! I bet cloves and spice would be nice in the warmers…especially at the holidays! Happy Valentine’s Day! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Chris says:

    I’ve made hand warmers like this many times. I’ve used dried corn gotten from the co-op’s or stores that sell bird foods. I also make a liner with an old sheet. It helps a little extra with dust coming from the hand warmer. Feels good on cold feet in bed.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Chris, thanks for the alternative ideas for the rice. I think you are right – using bird seed or corn means a liner is necessary. The rice isn’t as dusty. And another great idea – for warm feet! I hate when my feet are cold! Thanks for “stopping by”! Stay warm! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Carlynne A Wright says:

    Thank you for a wonderful post. I live in PA, and we are having our Feb cold. What beautiful projects. I love seeing your home, so cozy. Friends and family must love to visit.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Carlynne (what a beautiful name you have, by the way), thank you so much! I love to make everything cozy, especially when it is a cold winter day. We used to live in PA for a few years. Made many lovely friends there, and it was in PA where I saw my first “real” snowfall! Stay warm! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  17. Colleen says:

    I love making hand/neck warmers, and in the past, have used dried lavender instead of the oils. I always wondered if the oil would become rancid, after many warmings. But, from all the comments, it seems like there’s no problem. I have also made them with a mix of rice and flax seed, along with the dried lavender. And, boy, do they smell wonderful. Stay warm, and thanks for the ideas.
    I also have an old Hoosier “baking center” that was my Grandma’s, so I feel very blessed with many memories of growing up and watching her use it, especially the built-in flour sifter and pull-out part, for rolling out pies and cookies. Now, get out and enjoy the snow.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Colleen, I have never had a problem with the oil, as I made a neck warmer years ago. Have never used flax seed, but another great idea! Thank you!
      How wonderful you have your Grandma’s Hoosier! That makes it extra-special! I love them. It took me decades to find one, in my budget, that fit my space, as well. If you are interested, here is a blog I wrote a few years ago on them:

      http://www.farmgirlbloggers.com/16774#more-16774

      We got snow yesterday, but this time it is fluffy with less ice. It was actually beautiful since it is not on the roads and everything is dusted with a fresh coating.

      Thanks for reading and sharing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Mary Kay Hoelscher says:

    I love reading and see what you are doing gives me great ideas. Thank you

  19. Anita Penrose says:

    This is the first time to read your post. Liked it very much. I’m not a farm girl now but I grew up on a farm and I remember a lot of things that you talk about. God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Anita, first off, WELCOME! I am so happy to have you stop by, and hope you will visit again next month. I bet it was wonderful growing up on a farm. Remember what MaryJane always says. ‘Farmgirl’ is a state of the heart, not necessarily where we all live, so I bet you are still a ‘farmgirl at heart’! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  20. Sharon says:

    Love your Hoosier and the pretty Valentine gal at the end.

  21. Pamela Frey says:

    Nicole, Caught up with your posts. So fun, great ideas and love your pictures. I lived in
    Mass. for over 40 years and now live in a 100yr. old farmhouse in Kansas. Your
    blog always brings me back to New England and inspires me with your adorable
    kitchen and use of wonderful & colorful retro pieces to brighten the season.
    Spent Christmas in Anchorage with my son and loved seeing the snow falling.
    Our Kansas weather has been crazy this winter ranging from sub-zero to 70
    degrees. Stay warm and thanks for your inspiring posts.
    HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! Pamela

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pamela, thank you! Your 100 year old farmhouse in Kansas sounds dreamy! I bet your Christmas with your son in Anchorage was memorable! I have never been to that area of the country – yet. Someday! Stay warm for the rest of winter! Thanks again for such a wonderful comment. It means a lot. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  22. Rosie Brock says:

    Love the idea of using rice for these projects. I will try them with the leftover material I have.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rosie, thank you! Enjoy – they are a fun little, fast and useful way to use leftover material. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  23. Roberta says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! You add warmth with every post. Mannny thanks. Roberta

  24. Rene says:

    Thank you! What a wonderful February update.
    Angry arthritis has made it difficult to do much with my hands, but I will be doing the rice/aroma packs. Working the muscles and joints then heating the pack and reading. He-he-he..
    It has been a joy reading your blog. Having moved into the Crone stage of my life made me hesitate to keep up with you. I wondered if there would be anything for me. But Hey!!! There is.
    Valentine’s day was my late Mother’s birthday so it is a little bittersweet, but also a double reason to celebrate.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rene, I am so glad to have you visit here with me. I hear ya on the arthritis, and can sympahtize. Arthritis runs in my family, and all of us have had issues with it. With all the knitting I do (I teach classes), with the extreme cold we have, I have had my hands hurting this week. I have been using the heat and also soaking in epsom salt.

      It is sweet that your late mother had her birthday on Valentine’s Day. I hope you did something special to mark the day.

      Thank you for visiting here, and I do hope you will come back again. Stay warm! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  25. Beverly Battaglia says:

    *I love this post, and you received so many nice comments. Handwarmers sound and look great.Love
    Mother

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