Thursday, August 9, 2012

Relaxation & Lavender Eye Pillows...

(Zen ~ "Meditation")
As someone who enjoys their share of relaxation (and never seems to get enough), there are a few things I use to help me achieve a certain amount of Zen. One of those things is a lavender eye pillow that I have had for years. I'll lie in a prone position on my back, place the pillow across my eyes, and shortly I'll feel my entire body relax. That small amount of light pressure around the eye area is the key. It has great effect on my headaches, especially the ones that cause painful pressure behind my eyes. That coupled with the relaxing effects of fresh lavender scent...I can't recommend the use of an eye pillow enough. I am with my trusty eye pillow that I have had for years. It still delivers relaxation from the pressure aspects, but the lavender inside has pretty much lost it's scent. The basic elements used in the construction of an eye pillow are not that costly, and relatively easy to get, so I decided to make myself a fresh one. It's extremely simple, so I thought I would pass it along.

(Dried lavender flowers)
I found a vendor who sells dried lavender flowers through Amazon. I paid about $15 for a pound of lavender. I figured I would make several pillows, and give some as gifts (they make a great gift, by the way). A pound of lavender is a LOT of lavender. I received a big zip-lock bag, filled to the brim with lavender flowers. Not only will I be able to make a bunch of eye pillows, I can make some sachets, as well.

(Flax seed)
The other ingredient needed for the pillow 'filling' is flax seed. I looked around on-line at some of the various pillow making instructions, and some of them used rice or beans. Beans would definitely be too big and not have the desired effect.  Rice is a bit closer, but flax seed is absolutely the way to go. They're small, and their shiny surfaces make them slick. They make the pillow conform to the face well, and are fairly cheap. You can find them on-line from craft supply vendors, and you can find them at some grocery stores.

For the pillow shell, I used a satin blend fabric. (The smoother fabrics work the best.)  My pillow is about 4" wide x 8" long. I measured out squares of fabric roughly 8 3/4" in diameter, and folded those in half. (I have an 8" x 8" cardboard square that I trace around with a white colored pencil - chalk works well, too - to use as a sewing guide. I don't recommend using any of the marking pens sold for this purpose, as they have a tendency to bleed through the satin fabrics.) With the fabric wrong side out, I sewed up the open side and one end. Then I flipped it right side out to get it ready for the filling.

(Lavender eye pillows that I made)
I took a zip-lock sandwich bag, put in 1 cup of flax seed, 1/2 cup of lavender flowers, sealed the bag and shook up the contents to mix them together. Of course, it can be done in a bowl, but this was more of a 'no muss-no fuss' method. I made a funnel out of a piece of paper to put the filling into the cloth covers. Once filled, I folded the flaps of the open end inside the pillow shell, pinned it closed, and sewed across that open end. Voila! A freshly made eye pillow.

You can find lavender eye pillows for sale (the average price is in the neighborhood of $8). If you are somewhat creative and want to be a bit more productive, I recommend this route. As mentioned before, you can make a bunch of them rather cheaply. Office gifts, party they say, the possibilities are endless! *grin*

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