Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Homemade Christmas 2011, part 2: Lavender Aromatherapy Eye Pillows

This post is part two of four in my Homemade Christmas 2011 series: Lavender Aromatherapy Eye Pillows. Part one covered vanilla extract, part three covered our cookie decorating party and part four covered body butters and scrubs.

I was chatting with a friend at work one day about what kind of gifts we'd be making for everyone this year and when I mentioned that I wanted to make something for my step-dad who had been having some eye problems, she sent me a link to a post (on a very cute blog called Make it Do) detailing how to make Lavender Eye Pillows.

I don't have a sewing machine but have always been able to set a pretty neat stitch - plus I absolutely love lavender - so I thought I would give it a go. The eye pillows were very easy to make - if you like lavender, can thread a needle and sew a straight line (or mostly straight), you can make these wonderfully fragrant little pillows. I've been studying a bit about aromatherapy lately (more to come on that in part 4 of my little Homemade Christmas series) and learned that lavender has a calming effect so these eye pillows will also provide some stress-relief when you need to relax.

The other great thing about these eye pillows is that lavender is a natural moth repellent so if you keep the pillow in your closet when you're not using it, it will both freshen your clothes and keep any moths away. Fabulous!

My sister-in-law, niece and I went to this amazing local fabric store called Gather Here. In addition to offering classes and hosting knitter's/crafter's brunches (they were having a rollicking good time the day we were there!), they sell the most adorable fabrics. It was a little hard to control myself in a place like that and I went a little nuts and ended up getting a small piece of different fabric that suited each person in my family and made an eye pillow for everyone!

In addition to the seven different patterns, I bought some plain white fabric at Gather Here for the inner pillow. The final "ingredients" were four bunches of dried lavender flowers from a local florist and some packages of flax seed at the grocery store (probably about 16-20 oz total). The ratio was supposed to be 2:1 flax seed to lavender, but I just eyeballed it and used as much flax seed as I needed to fill my 7 pillows. The dried lavender was so fragrant that I wasn't worried about the scent being obscured if I added too much flax seed.

The one change I made was that instead of cutting out both a front and back panel (two 4.5" x 10" panels for the inner pillow) I cut out one larger piece and folded it over so I'd only have to sew 3 sides instead of 4. So, my inner pillow panel was 9" x10" and then folded in half.

measuring and cutting my (adorable!) fabric

the plain white inner pillows which will hold the lavender-flax seed mixture

not too bad for having been sewn by hand.
Once I finished, they were turned inside-out so the stitches were on the inside.

To strip off the flowers, I left them in the tied bunch inside in the florist's cellophane wrap. Then I just gently rubbed the whole thing between my hands and the little flowers fell right off into my bowl.

rubbing the flowers off their stems

all done...that was easy!

the lavender smell was incredible and filled the entire house

I left a small opening on one side and filled each inner pillow slightly more than half full.
Then I sewed up opening.

the inside-out view of the outer pillow.

What I did here was to make my length about 4 extra inches (so, 10" x ~14", the 10" side being the side I folded over), then I cut the fabric on the folded side - just for those extra 4 inches - to create two separate pieces at the top. One piece got sewn down on the inside (so that when you looked inside the top of the pillow you'd see the pretty pattern instead of the back of the fabric) -- see picture above. For the other piece, I sewed an edge and then used this neat flap to "seal" the pillow after inserting the inner pillow -- see picture below.

I hope this makes sense...I'm happy to provide more details if you need, just leave a comment.

this was a mini-version, for my 5 year old niece.
Here the inner pillow is being inserted in the outer pillow,
then the flap will be tucked in to secure the inner pillow.

my niece's finished eye pillow

the other, adult-sized, eye pillows - all done!

Bye for now...

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