I made one of these for a friend's birthday and she loves it. When you sit at a table and read, the weight holds your book open for you. They are great for using with cookbooks, too.
Since then, I made 10 more. A friend who belongs to a book club is making them for all the members.
They are really simple and easy and make a great gift for a reader or a cook.
1/2 to 3/4 cup coarse sand
one long straight pin
Cut 2 pieces of tightly woven (like calico) fabric 8 1/2" x 3". With right sides together, sew 3 sides with a generous 1/4" seam, leaving one small end open. (use a tight stitch length and backstitch at beginning and end.)
Turn right side out. Fold under open end about 1/2" and press the whole thing. Using a funnel and holding the weight upright, fill with the sand until it is at least 1 1/2" from the opening. Place the straight pin across the weight where the top of the sand is. This will "hold" the sand back a bit and keep it from spilling out too much. Sew 1/8" all the way across the opening, backstitching at beginning and end. That's it.
I'm going to start adding one of these to all the kitchen type gift baskets I make from now on.
Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric Book Weight