Basket full of pillows

Have you ever noticed that your shoulders are stiff after a wonderful day of sewing, quilting, baking, cooking, or computer work? It is because you are either using muscles more than you are used to or have “poor posture” as my mother used to say. Now, they call that ergonomics. Well, I am not here to tell you to sit up straight or lower your keyboard. I am not your mom who will tell you I told you so. Maybe your posture is just fine. But you are just tense because deadlines or tired of being stuck home.

Regardless of the reason for your stiff shoulders and sore neck, a scented relaxation pillow may help relieve a little of whatever ails you. This is not a medical device, just so the Facebook Police don’t think it is. It is a home spa treatment you can make yourself and use anytime. It also makes wonderful gifts if you are on a budget. They are quick and easy. The most time consuming step is waiting for Amazon Prime to deliver. They are that quick. Yesterday, I made about half a dozen in less than hour.

Materials: fabric, thread, lentils, rosemary, and lavender

Now, you are curious. The materials for a scented relaxation pillow are relatively simple: a fat quarter or 6-inch width of fabric strip, coordinating thread, and filling. I highly recommend using a batik not only are they pretty, but they have a really tight weave that will minimize the filling escaping over time. Any thread will work, but keep your stitch length short (1.5 – 2.0) also to keep the filling from escaping. For the filling, you will need two pounds of “hard fill” and some dried herbs. Hard fill includes dried beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, flax, millet, etc. These are good examples as you want to be able to heat the pillow in the microwave for about a minute without a small disaster. So I wouldn’t recommend using corn as you may end up with a crunchy popcorn pillow….

As for dried herbs, think of scents that relax you. Some examples of herbs that promote relaxation or feelings of comfort include: lavender, rosemary, jasmine, clary sage, bergamot, chamomile, peppermint, frankincense, and lemon. (Sources: Psychology Today, Very Well Mind, and Loving Essential Oils). I recommend about 1 ounce of herbs, but that will vary depending upon the intensity of herbs you pick. You want to relax, not give someone a headache or stuffy nose! You may be asking yourself, why can’t I use essential oils instead of dried herbs? The oils when mixed with the filling may not smell the way you hoped. If you try that route, test it before adding it to the pillow. Essential oils may bleed through the fabric and cause the dye to run. Again, you don’t want another headache. Finally, the smell of dried herbs lasts longer in my experience.

Assembly is easy. If using a 6-inch width of fabric, fold it in half wrong side out. Sew along both long sides to make a sleeve. If using a fat quarter, cut two 6-inch x 22-inch pieces and sew them together on three sides (leave 6-inch side open). Turn sleeve right side out. Fill with herbs and hard fill. Fold the raw edges in about 3/4-inch and stitch closed. Add a decorative stitch at the end if you want to make it fancy.

For my pillows, I used 2 lb. organic lentil beans ($3/lb.), 1/2 oz. organic dried lavender ($1.38/oz.), and 1/2 oz. organic crushed rosemary ($1.16/oz.). Therefore, the filling costs were $7.27, since shipping is free with Amazon Prime. I already had fabric from my stash and thread, so I don’t count that as a cost. So each one cost me less than $10 and took only a few minutes to make. Guess what some friends may be getting for gifts!

The pillow can be used room temperature or warmed in the microwave. If warmed in microwave heat on high for 1-2 minutes. Test the temperature to make sure it isn’t too hot. You don’t want to singe yourself. Place around neck, on lap, or wherever you may use a heating pad or hot water bottle (for youngsters hot water bottles were the predecessors to electric heating pads).

Store in area with good ventilation to prevent mold. Clean with damp cloth if needed. Do NOT put in washing machine.

If you are interested this craft, please download the one page instructions here.

I hope you enjoy this gift to you. If you like it, please sign up to receive updates on our blog (see side bar on the right) as more fun is coming this month.

Happy Quilting!