Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sachets and Eye Pillows

Herbal Gift Series
I want to go on record here to tell you that this is really a great exercise. It is something that has started to stay with me all day. What about this? How about that? Would that be reasonable? Would the typical person be able to find these items within a week or two? So this is a fun and challenging blog series to be doing. I wasn't expecting that. If you're enjoying this series, consider a subscription to The Essential Herbal Magazine, where we write about these things every other month and it comes directly to your door. Click on the sidebar >>>
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When our mother died, we were going through her belongings, and eventually found a couple dozen bars of our handmade soap. Any soapmaker will tell you to USE THE DARNED SOAP! We can always make more. Besides, it is nice to have cute little sachets that can be placed in drawers and hung over hangers and such. They are so simple to make that it seems a shame that they aren't used more. Additionally, things like lavender, patchouli, and cedar discourage moths and scent a closet agreeably.

First, you'll need the cloth bags. You can make them yourself from pretty fabric. A finished size of 3"x4" is good. You can also find muslin bags in that size. Other possibilities are the heat sealable teabags or the round ruffled coffee filters, which can be gathered, tied, and fluffed at the top.
My favorite choice to give or receive would be lavender in tied muslin bags. Package several together and make up a cute label. Include a list of ways to use them, such as:
~ to scent drawers
~ in the clothes dryer, to scent the clothes (each bag should last for about 3 loads)
~ make a strong tea with the lavender sachet and add to the bath
~ tie to a clothes hanger to keep clothes free from moths and musty odors
If you decide to decorate the muslin bags, be sure to place cardboard inside so that the paint or ink doesn't go through both layers of fabric.


These are really nice. In fact, in a way eye pillows instigated our full time shop. Chinaberry catalog included some eye pillows, and they had ingredients like flax seeds (of course), lavender, peppermint, yarrow, and hops. One of the other mothers at the Waldorf school Molly attended really wanted to make them and came to me looking for the herbs - which were packed away waiting for the next renaissance faire season. My sister and I thought, "if you can't even get an ounce of lavender locally, it's time to open fulltime."
And so we did.

Anyway... the finished size of an eye pillow is about 4" x 7". It will be filled with about a cup of *mostly* flax seeds, with a touch of lavender if desired. Some people use a lot of other herbs, but to me that seems like a waste. Besides, I used it most during a migraine and scents just made me sick. I no longer get migraines, but still avoid heavy scents in eye pillows because of that. The little flax seeds have the perfect size and weight to sink into the area around the eye and soothing and cooling. They really do help.

The best thing to do is make the pillow out of a tightly woven material and then a pillowcase from a silky cloth. That way, you can wash the pillowcase. The pillow itself must not be allowed to get wet, or the flax seeds will sprout. Flax seeds can be purchased from a health food store or at a bulk food store.

HOT/COLD pads for sore achy muscles

You can use the same principal to make wonderful hot/cold pads. For these you will use a much sturdier fabric, like denim or light canvas and they are filled with rice. These are made in all shapes and sizes, but the one I like best is about 5" x 2' with soft rope handles at either end. It is made like a long fabric tube. Sew the one end closed. Fill about 3/4 - 4/5 of the way with rice. If you want to add some herbs, they would be mixed with the rice prior to filling. Some choices would include lavender and peppermint. I've seen as many as 2 dozen herbs added, but (and I apologize to the makers) to me that just seems like label appeal.
Close the second end.

With a large needle and heavy thread, you can add baffles up the center.
Sew handles onto the ends for ease of use. This and the baffles are optional, but really make it nice.
To use, the pad can be placed into the microwave for a minute (no more), or chilled in the freezer.


girlwithasword said...

Tina, I'm thoroughly enjoying this posting, and have linked to your blog from both of mine. You are just full of knowledge and creativity. thank you for sharing!!!

Tina Sams said...

Hey thanks, Maggie! It's fun, but I'll be glad to see the solstice get here so I can take a wee break from plumbing the depths of my herbcrafting memories.

Lisa Brawner said...

these are all great !!!!