Mother's Children: A Packing-Peanut Quilt, Homemade Hat and Natural Bubble Gum

Read tips for making a comfortable quilt, a warm hat and natural gum.

| January/February 1982

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    This homemade hat keeps you warm through a cold night — or day.
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    Line a homemade quilt with packing peanuts.
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    This illustration shows how to make a quilt filled with packing peanuts.
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    This diagram shows how to make the cap.

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Mother feels strongly that youths can be creative "doers" working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles... whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked "underage" citizens, we're glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they've undertaken.

A Packing Peanuts Quilt

My dad used to run a health food store. He saved all the peanut-shaped polystyrene foam packing pieces that came in boxes of vitamins because he thought that maybe they could be used somehow. Well, one year, Dad's birthday was coming up and I needed to make him a gift, so I used the packing bits and some leftover cotton material from Mom's rag box, to make a patchwork quilt for him.

To create the birthday comforter, I first cut 240 8-by-8-inch pieces of material and then stitched the squares into 24 strips. (I used the sewing machine.) Each one was 10 squares long. Then I sewed the strips together, side by side in groups of four, and doubled each one lengthwise to make six big tubes. Each tube was almost 16 inches wide. I stitched the tubes together, side by side — to make the unfilled quilt — and then sewed the bottoms of all the tubes shut.

Next, I had to stuff the comforter. I filled all the tubes one third full with Styrofoam peanuts and sewed all the way across the quilt, just above the stuffing, to hold the packing bits in place. Then I filled the tubes up to the two-thirds level and sewed across them again. The final step was to stuff the last third of the tubes and stitch the open edge of the bed covering shut.

When I was done (I didn't work on the project all at once, so it took me a pretty long time), I had made a nice snuggly quilt for free. Best of all, Dad says it's very warm.

Cozy Head Warmers

Do you sleep in a cold room? The folks in our family do. But, after I learned that 70 percent of a person's body heat loss is through the head, I figured out a way to make noggin-warmers for all the children in our family (and I have three brothers and four sisters!). Nowadays, we all sleep snug with our nightcaps on!

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