Friday, 7 June 2013

Handicraft - Wheat Pack

We had one wheat pack for our household of nine so I asked our 13 year old to make a new one. 
It's a very easy project which took him under an hour all up with the help of a sewing machine.

You'll need:

A rectangular piece of cotton (soft corduroy is a good choice) or linen material  about  24 inches x 16 inches, depending on what size you want the pack to be.
About 2 pounds/900 grams of wheat - I paid $1.60 for a kilo at a Lebanese grocer.

What to do:

Fold the material in half lengthwise, right sides together and sew both of the long sides
Then sew the end but leave about a 2 or 3 inch gap so you can turn the it the right way round and also so the wheat can be poured in. (Use a funnel or a jug with a spout to make pouring easier)
It's better not to overstuff them so they can be moulded to fit wherever you are going to place them.

Once the wheat is inside, sew up the gap you left.

To use, put the pack on a plate in the microwave with a 1/2 cup of water beside it (helps the wheat not to dry out) and heat for 2 minutes.
This one was put to immediate use as an aid to piano practice.
They can also be used as cool packs - wrap them in plastic and place in freezer until needed.
They are helpful to relieve stomach cramps, aching muscles and putting on the spot over a migraine (just make sure it's cooled a little first) - this works a treat for a member of the family who gets these from time to time.

We just used material we had on hand but they make a neat gift done up in some attractive fabric with a little card attached with instructions on its use.

There are some precautions with their use:

Don't overheat - they can ignite, like lots of other things, if you zap them for 20 minutes instead of 2!
Overheating is more likely with a wheat bag that is old and has been over-used.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Picture Study - Hans Heysen

Hans Heysen (1877-1968) is said to have been the first Australian painter to have recognised the beauty of the Australian eucalypts, or gum trees and has been called 'the portrait painter of the Australian gum tree.'
Heysen was born in Germany and came to Australia when he was six years old. He eventually made his home at Hahndorf in the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, an area which inspired many of his paintings.

An Early Summer Morning Ambleside

The Art Gallery of South Australia has an excellent guide for families for a study of Hans Heysen's paintings:

'Look at how Heysen has used layers of watercolour to paint this landscape.
What weather report would you give after looking at this painting?
 How has Heysen created a sense of mood and atmosphere in this painting?' 

The Wet Road 

The Hillside, Glen Osmond


 Flinder's Ranges Landscape

 Edge of the Clearing

 Drought Sheep

Colin Thiele said of him, 'Hans Heysen was one of the great landscape painters of Australia. His superb draughtsmanship, his wonderful control of medium – especially watercolour and charcoal – his handling of light, his power of composition and his intense awareness of natural form and texture, combined to make him unique among the representational painter of this country. Nobody in Australia had studied the gum tree as he had, or analysed its singular character.......His, indeed, was one of the longest and most distinguished careers in the history of Australian art.'

Sewing  (The Artist's Wife)

A Lord of the Bush