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Crafty Westwood seniors hard at work

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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Julie Pinel shows off their last craft, the Patriot’s scarves

Julie Pinel shows off their last craft, the Patriot’s scarves

When asked for a final quote to put a bow on the day of crafts, the ladies of the Patricia Carty-Larkin Senior Center in Westwood gave two very different, but both very true answers.

“All’s well that ends well on a feel-good day,” said one woman.

Another quickly retorted: “Rice, rice everywhere.”

Such was the issue on Wednesday, February 6, when the women of the Westwood Senior Center began making the crafts they sell, with all the profits going toward the center itself. While they recently sold (and quickly sold out of) Patriots scarves, and weeks ago they made beautiful floral arrangements inside of old ice skates, this week’s craft was a heating or cooling pad, designed to be worn around the neck - which proved to be a pain in the neck to make.

Filling what was essentially a giant stocking with medium-grade Japanese rice (which Sheila Ragucci assured the group was the best rice), the idea is that as opposed to something like ice, which can leak all over you, the rice can either be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer and doesn’t need to be plugged in or put inside a Ziploc bag.

(Reporter’s note: they gave me one, and it works really well.)

The problem arose when trying to fill these small stockings with huge amounts of rice. On several occasions, rice escaped the funnel and spilled all over the floor, forcing the ladies to break out the dustpan and broom and Julie Pinel to bluntly state: “Well, there have been funner projects.”

Another woman to walk into the room with an oatmeal raisin cookie and declared: “We do take a coffee break, so it’s not really a sweatshop.”

Still, it was very clear that the group was having fun, and that these comments were in jest.

Pinel, Munroe, add the giant bag of rice that caused all the trouble.

Pinel, Munroe, add the giant bag of rice that caused all the trouble.

And at the end of the day, they had some fantastic handiwork to show for themselves.

While an example of a similar, store-bought hot/cold pad cost 25 dollars, the seniors were looking to sell their various versions - ranging from a small heart to be used as a hand-warmer to the long neck pads - for between four and ten dollars.

Given how much work went into them, they should probably charge more.

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