It’s been really hot here in Roswell. It seems that all I have done is go to work and come home. The heat is just so tiring. While we were visiting Stacey over in Socorro, I got a good look at the neck cooler she wears almost constantly. It seemed like a very simple thing. Then I used Ixquick.com to do a search for neck coolers and, being a frugal (or cheap, depending on how you look at it) individual, next searched for neck cooler patterns. They all seemed incredibly simple to make. Plus I had everything needed to make one scattered around the bus.
I did have a problem with all the neck coolers I have seen. Basically, you can’t really wash them. I did read a few blogs where some advocated careful hand washing. But every where, homemade or manufactured, it was no machine washing. To me that means I would either be wearing a dirty thing around my neck (ick) or I would be making a new one all the time. Which was almost as repulsive as wearing a dirty thing around my neck. That got me to thinking. What I needed was to make the cooling section a removable part and also make a cover that I could toss in the washing machine.
One of the things I had “stored” in the Jeep was a small box of assorted lightweight cotton fabrics that I once was going to use to make little throw pillows. After the first pillow, I realized is was mostly a piece that took up space and we really didn’t use it. So the remaining fabrics got tossed in a box and tucked away. I also have a nice little lightweight Simplicity sewing machine that I had bought several years ago when we downsized from a house to a Class C. I had a rather heavy basic sewing machine that took up way too much space. So I sold the heavy one CHEAP at one of our sales and found a smaller, lightweight sewing machine that not only did button holes (my biggest criteria) but also some fancy stitching. I most definitely am not a domestic diva. I do not sew. But I am cheap, or frugal. I always think that I could find some patterns and make my own shirts, shorts, maybe some lightweight sleeping/lounging pants and save money doing so. Then reality sets in. In most cases, it seems to cost me more to sew up my own clothes.
I buy my outer clothing at thrift stores. Sometimes I have a hard time finding clothes that I want to wear. Not that the current thrift store we frequent has that bad of a selection. I think it’s because I don’t care for shopping for clothing. And I like certain styles that tend to go out of fashion every so often. This kinda explains the sewing machine. I also use it to repair clothing and have used it to repair a quilt or blanket. While I can sew a little, it’s not something I do all the time. But I still have the sewing machine and it needs a home in the bus (got that all planned out).
So, I have the fabric to make the neck cooler covers. I also discovered that I also have the gel stuff the cooling pad is filled with. It’s nothing more than the Miracle Grow Water Crystals I use when I pot up a plant! So all I needed was a little time and I could put together several neck coolers with stuff I already had. Oh, Frugal Joy! But I still needed to tweak the patterns a little.
So, I thought and drew out some ideas, threw them away and drew some more. And I got what I wanted, pretty much. I figured out I needed to make the cooling pad separate. That was pretty simple. But the outer wrap was a bit tricky. I did get one made. Wore it to work a couple days. Figured out how to solve a few problems. And the cooling pad I made just is too fat once hydrated and too short. So I think I need to cut the amount of crystals used in half, make the pad a little longer and try it all again. Otherwise, the little thing worked great. I will take pictures of the next one I make and I think will work better.