So Autumn is most definitely here and in a ideal world, it should be something like this:
Instead its usually more like this:
So if your autumn is more like mine with long damp days and dark chilly nights, we could all do with a little warmth and cheer. Solution, make your own fabulous heat packs to stay toasty all the year long! 🙂
There are a number of choices for what to use as filler for the heat packs, from rice to wheat to cherry stones to flaxseed.
You can also add herbs and flowers such as lavender, chamomile, mint…As well as your favourite essential oils but remember a little goes a long way, as when the heat pack is heated, the scent will be much more intense.
After much research, Flaxseed seems to be the most popular choice for stuffing your heat pack.
WHY FLAX INSTEAD OF OTHER GRAINS?
Flaxseed provides a gentle, moist heat which promotes healing.
- Flaxseeds are flower seeds, rather than grains, so they contain 30-40% oil which remains inside the seed to be warmed again and again. Other products lose their ability to retain heat as the water cooks out of them over time.
- When heated, flaxseed pillows retain half their heat after an hour. Under covers (think about those toes…) the pillow will still be warm hours later.
- Flax never has that “cooked grain” smell other grain based products have when heated over and over again.
- The weight of flaxseed is gentle and comforting.
- Flaxseed pillows can also be chilled in the freezer to sooth fevers or slight inflammations, though they don’t get cold enough to provide the numbness needed for things like sprains and back injuries.
- Choose your fabric. Something heavy but not too stiff, like brushed canvas or cotton ticking, works well.
- Its best to use 100% cotton if possible as artificial materials are more likely to burn in a microwave.
- Decide what size you’d like your finished pillow to be. Customize it to suit your needs, but a rectangle about 6 inches by 18 inches is a good place to start. (This is long enough to drape around your neck.)
- Cut your fabric. You can cut two pieces of cloth, adding about half an inch for a seam allowance all around. Or you can cut one piece of cloth that’s twice the width you want the finished pillow to be plus half an inch seam allowance on each side. (In this case you’ll fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew three rather than four ends closed.)
- Place right sides of the fabric together and sew, using a half-inch seam allowance on each side. Leave one short side open for filling.
- Turn your pillow right side out.
Fill your pillow about two-thirds to three-fourths full of flax seed.
Add about 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers. Don’t overdo the flowers, because the scent will become stronger when heated. And don’t overfill the pillow or the seeds won’t be able to move around and the pillow won’t drape comfortably.
Sew the last end closed. (You can fold the ends in and sew by hand or by machine.)
To use your pillow, warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Shake and warm for another 30 to 60 seconds, until the desired warmth.
To warm it in the oven, place in cold oven and turn heat to 200 degrees. Shake pillow after five minutes, then replace for another two to five minutes, testing often.
Note: Be careful not to overheat the pillow! It can get hot enough to burn you or even start a fire!
- Design your pillow in the shape of a “U” to fit around your neck. Or make a muff to put your cold hands in.
- Make a no-sew version using tube socks. Just fill with flax and lavender and knot the end
- Sew a liner to fill with flax and lavender and a removable cover for washing. Simply make the cover just a bit larger than the liner, for easy removal. And be sure to prewash and preshrink your outer fabric. (You don’t want it to shrink so that it no longer fits over your liner.)
- Choose a liner fabric that’s lightweight and a bit open weaved but tight enough to hold the contents.
- Use dried rose petals, mint, or other dried herbs that you enjoy for scent in place of the lavender flowers.
- Use your pillow over your forehead, or under or over your feet, too.
- Try chilling your pillow in the freezer when you need to cool rather than warm an area.
Flax pillows make wonderful gifts. Choose fabrics that are appropriate for the recipient, and tie with a pretty ribbon or raffia. Include a little card with directions.
You can even make them into stuffed animals or incorporate them into slippers but I will be talking about that again in the future.
If you have Sore wrists and spend a lot of time in a chilly office, you can make simple Keyboard and Wrist Support Heat pads.
Or if you you have a old flannel shirt, it would be perfect for making some seasonal hand warmers…
I have made one neck pillow, one heavy pillow for sore tummies and one comforting hand warmer and have tested them all in the microwave with success! Hurrah!
These were made from material I had on hand, heavy denim from a old pair of jeans and a lighter cotton from too long summer trousers.
I plan to make a lot of them in the coming weeks, as I hope to have a stall at a local Christmas market for the first time, so lot of work to get ready for that!
In the meantime, if you try making a heat pack yourself, curl up in bed and enjoy the many days and nights of warmth and comfort you will have from your very own fabulous DIY Heat Pad 🙂